Shingwauk's Vision

Shingwauk's Vision

A History of Native Residential Schools

Book - 1996
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With the growing strength of minority voices in recent decades has come much impassioned discussion of residential schools, the institutions where attendance by Native children was compulsory as recently as the 1960s. Former students have come forward in increasing numbers to describe the psychological and physical abuse they suffered in these schools, and many view the system as an experiment in cultural genocide. In this first comprehensive history of these institutions, J.R. Miller explores the motives of all three agents in the story. He looks at the separate experiences and agendas of the government officials who authorized the schools, the missionaries who taught in them, and the students who attended them.

Starting with the foundations of residential schooling in seventeenth-century New France, Miller traces the modern version of the institution that was created in the 1880s, and, finally, describes the phasing-out of the schools in the 1960s. He looks at instruction, work and recreation, care and abuse, and the growing resistance to the system on the part of students and their families. Based on extensive interviews as well as archival research, Miller's history is particularly rich in Native accounts of the school system.

This book is an absolute first in its comprehensive treatment of this subject. J.R. Miller has written a new chapter in the history of relations between indigenous and immigrant peoples in Canada.

Co-winner of the 1996 Saskatchewan Book Award for nonfiction.

Winner of the 1996 John Wesley Dafoe Foundation competition for Distinguished Writing by Canadians

Named an 'Outstanding Book on the subject of human rights in North America' by the Gustavus Myer Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America.

Publisher: Toronto : University of Toronto Press, c1996.
ISBN: 9780802008336
Branch Call Number: 371.9797071 Mil 3701ma 1
Characteristics: xii, 582 pages : illustrations, maps.


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Buffy5 Jan 02, 2017

Shingwauk’s Vision
This book is copyrighted in 1996 so I’m sure there is more that could be written about the aftermath of residential schools but it is still a well researched comprehensive history of the schools.
I must confess that it took me a long time to read this book. Being a slow reader the size of the book alone was intimidating and the chapters were long so it was not easy to pick up and put down whenever I had a moment. The individual chapters were organized by theme rather than chronologically so there were a lot of names and dates of which to keep track. I am glad I persevered.
I don’t know much about Native culture and history so this book was a real eye opener. I didn’t know that Native Americans wanted education to help their children adjust to the changing times of the white man. I was surprised to find out that all the major churches were involved in establishing and running residential schools, protestant and catholic alike.
I think that J.R. Miller tries to provide an objective view of the running of the schools but he doesn’t mince words in demonstrating the judgemental and dismissive attitude of white people toward Native lifestyle and culture. He also clearly shows the involvement and culpability of churches, the federal government and Euro-Canadian society.

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