Indian Residential Schooling: The Native Perspective


Author's Abstract, Page IV:

"This is an exploratory study of experiences of elders with schooling in Indian residential schools, to provide a better understanding of the difficulties faced by Indians as they take control of their own schooling, It documents how the elders were affected, both positively and negatively, by attending these schools, with special attention to experiences with discipline and how it differed from traditional forms of social control.

The study begins with a brief look at the history of Indian schooling in Canada, and Indian and European values and attitudes towards children. It then presents information from archives describing Roman Catholic and United Church documentation related to Indians and Indian schooling. However, the core of the work is interviews with 10 men and women from Indian communities in North-Central Alberta who attended either Blue Quills Indian Residential School (and its predecessor) or the Edmonton Indian Industrial school (and its predecessor) between 1900 and 1940.

Despite the beliefs of missionary educators that they would improve the lives of Indians through schooling and Christianization, it is apparent from these interviews that the children’s experiences in residential schools were academic learning which occurred. Major difficulties with taking on adult roles followed for many of the elders; they found strength to change their situations or to heal outside the school in their own culture. It is the maintenance of customs and traditions by traditional Indians who have persevered against the pressures to assimilate through the years which will be eliminated from the community, so that Indians can create a healthy and culturally rich environment for their children." (iv).

Publication Information

Bull, Linda R. Indian Residential Schooling the Native Perspective. University of Alberta, 1991.

Bull, Linda
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