Residential Schools - East Northumberland Secondary School

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Purpose
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
To assimilate Native
children into a
Christian lifestyle and
European work habits
In 1920 it was made
into law that all Native
children were to
attend Residential
schools if there was
no Day school near
their home.
Quote from 1920
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
“Our object is to
continue until there is
not a single Indian in
Canada that has not
been absorbed into
the body politic, and
there is no Indian
question, and no
Indian department.”
Stated by Duncan Campbell Scott
– Deputy Superintendent General
of Indian Affairs
Why did Native Children Go?
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
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
It was the law.
Indian Agents on the reserves would withhold
food and benefits from those who did not go.
Children were forcibly taken by priests, Indian
agents or police officers and sent on buses or
cattle cars to schools.
Some families did resist despite the
consequences.
After Grade Six only about 3% of Native children
remained in school.
Life at a Residential School

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It was a boarding school
Often a long way from the
child’s actual home.
Sometimes students could
go home for the summers.
Often their meals would be
rotten or lacking in
quantity.
Usually run by a church.
The teachers would be
nuns or priests.
Rules
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Natives were taught that
their culture, their spiritual
beliefs, their language, and
their clothes were inferior
and wrong.
The children were not
allowed to speak their
native language. If they
were caught doing so they
would be beaten.
The children were given
new English names.
Their hair was cut.
They were to wear
different clothes.
Lessons
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The day would start with chapel.
In the morning there would be lessons on reading, writing,
arithmetic and religion.
Discipline was harsh. You could be punished for poor work or
learning too fast.
Lessons Continued

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In the afternoon students would be given manual
chores.
Thus there education was inferior.
It was believed that Native children were only fit
for menial labour so a good education wasn’t
necessary.
Abuse
Some schools had dedicated staff
 But in other schools teachers used their
position to abuse the students
emotionally, physically and sometimes
sexually.
 The children were helpless.

Impact
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When the children were taken from their homes
the community was left in a state of shock and
despair.
Some turned to alcohol.
Native children were deprived of normal family
life and did not learn how to be parents.
Children were taken from their home, culture,
land, community…Their identity was torn from
them.
Many children who went to Residential schools
never returned because they died from disease,
beatings, suicide, or failed escapes.
In 1920 it was compulsory for Native
children to attend Residential or Day
schools.
 The last one closed in 1996
 “Indian Residential Schools Unit.”
Assembly of First Nations. Nov. 29, 2010.
http://www.afn.ca/residentialschools/histo
ry.html.

Residential Schools

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