Raymond Mason


   Ray Mason at the Shingwauk Indian Residential School Cemetery with the new TRC Chair Justice Murray Sinclair
Algoma University, Sault Ste Marie, Ontario  -  Robinson-Huron (1850) Treaty Territory

 (25 August 2009)


Born in 1946 at the Peguis First Nation to Katherine Prince – Peguis First Nation (Deceased) & Elijah Mason – Fisher River Cree Nation (Deceased)


I was taken away from my parents and community when I was about 6 years old.  I was taken & put in Birtle Residential School, Portage La Prairie Residential School, and Dauphin McKay Residential School over a period of 12 years.


After graduating from High School I went to work for Inco. Canada for approx. 2.5 years, and worked at various jobs until I decided to back to school to further my education.  I went to Success College, Winnipeg, Manitoba and completed a Business Administration Diploma Course.  I went back to school and completed a Commerce Degree Course for approx.3.5 years at the University of Manitoba.


I worked for various Aboriginal Organizations, Manitoba Indian Brotherhood, Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council, Swan Lake First Nation,  as a Technical Advisor for the Chief & Council and  I also worked for the Dept. of Indian Affairs in the Economic Development Dept.  However, during the period shortly after I left high school, I had serious problems with alcohol abuse.  I lost many good jobs because of the kind of person I became, as a result of being brought up as a number, in the residential schools.  However, I didn’t realize that was the case at that time.


Then, approx. in 1988 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, myself and a few former residential school mates started to talk about or experiences in these schools.  It was there that we realized that we were abused and that the Gov’t of Canada tried to take the Indian out of us, tried to make think white, act white & live white.  From that time on I always said that if the Canadian Gov’t can compensate the Oriental People for Displacement and giving them a better way of life, here in Canada, then they certainly owe us some thing for what they to us here in our own country.


We had to work very hard on our own for many years, with no money, for travel, office expenses, etc., for approx. 9 years.   We had many “ups and downs”, disappointments, and frustrations, because it seemed that, even our own leadership would support us.   When we first started, we named our organization, The Manitoba Indian Residential School Survivors Society.  Then in 2000, we changed our organization’s name to Spirit Wind/MB.  An elder from Fisher River Cree Nation, gave us this name to operate under.


In closing, if anyone wishes to contact me, you may call me at 204-645-2665, cell – 204-794-8355, email: rmfors@mts.net