Douglas Semple
2 min readSep 28, 2021

At the same time as this iconic music festival drew to a close, a bunch of Indigenous children boarded a Canadian National Railway passenger train in Sioux Lookout at 1 am. Thus began a change of epic proportions in my life and in the lives of those that were with me on that train. We were heading to Brantford Ontario to attend an Indian residential school.

Night Train

The young children that came to the Woodstock music festival ushered in a change in the social landscape of the United States as well as in Canada. We, who survived the traumas of the Mohawk Residential School, also ushered in a change to the world we live in. A change which was not a making of our own, nor that of our parents making. A Government policy forced them to let us go and be on our own at a young age to figure out a strange world.

As a result, all those of us that were on that night train were never going to be the same again. Many of us were going to be destroyed. Our innocence as children was to be crushed in the months ahead.

At that 1969 Woodstock Music Festival, the music vibrated and reverberated in the night and rolled on into the decades ahead to force changes into the social landscape of the United States and Canada. We on that night train did not hear the music of this festival only the unbearable silent loneliness of being separated from our moms….that was the change we faced that night and it vibrated and reverberated far into the decades ahead of us. It vibrated and reverberated many of us into early graves with crushed souls because of what happened to us in those residential schools.

From Unsplash
Douglas Semple

Douglas Semple MBA, MPA, B.A. A writer, a thinker and a follower of Jesus.