Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Residential Schools

Lorimer 2016. 128 pages
First published: 2016
Series: Righting Canada's Wrongs
ISBN: 9781459408661 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 970
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

layout, multimodal, stance

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

One of the main objectives of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is to speak about the past as a path toward healing. To that end, this book provides an in-depth review of Canada’s residential school system, which sought to assimilate First Nations children by removing them from their families and culture. The text describes the way of life of First Nations communities across the country, including Inuit and Metis peoples, with particular attention given to the special place of children. It also explains the contentious relationship between the Canadian government and First Nations peoples as policies and treaties increasingly diminished their sovereignty, territory and way of life.

First-person testimonies recount the loneliness, harsh conditions and abuse that children experienced in the residential schools. The last section looks at the long-term impact of these policies and the struggle to have the harm recognized by the Canadian government.

The extensive use of personal quotes and stories personalize the experience of the residential schools, from loss of language (“They took my language. They took it right out of my mouth.”) to poor conditions (“Hunger is both the first and last thing I can remember about that school … Every Indian student smelled of hunger”) and worse. Photographs, artwork and highlighted quotes make the stories real.

This addition to the Righting Canada’s Wrongs series adds to our understanding of this dark chapter in Canadian history and the need for a better future.

  •  

    Taking a critical literacy approach to non-fiction texts enables readers to better understand the text’s purpose and goal. Readers should ask questions of the text while reading such as “What is the author trying to say?” and “What features and techniques are used to influence the reader?”

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    In small groups, choose a section of text and discuss how the images, captions, quotations and other text features convey a message about the impact of residential schools. How do these elements work together to impact the reader?

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    Use this and other texts (articles, biographies, fictionalized accounts) to explore the information through different text types. Use a production process to create an expository text that explores an issue stemming from the text(s).

  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Social Sciences