It was hardly surprising that many indigenous people resisted sending their children to residential schools even though they wanted their children to get educated in the ways of these strange Europeans who had arrived, they just did not want them to lose connection with their own culture and family and wanted them to be treated with respect. That was hardly a big ask. Here is how the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (‘TRC’) described the typical experience of life in these schools to which indigenous children were forced to attend:
“For children, life in these schools was lonely and alien. Buildings were poorly located, poorly built, and poorly maintained. The staff was limited in numbers, often poorly trained, and not adequately supervised. Many schools were poorly heated and poorly ventilated, and the diet was meagre and of poor quality. Discipline was harsh, and daily life was highly regimented. Aboriginal languages and cultures were denigrated and suppressed. The educational goals of the schools were limited and confused, and usually reflected a low regard for the intellectual capabilities of Aboriginal people. For the student s, education and technical training too often gave way to the drudgery of doing the chores necessary to make the schools self-sustaining. Child neglect was institutionalized and the lack of supervision created situations where students were prey to sexual and physical abusers.”
I know we should not judge 19th and early 20th century facilities by 21st century standards but does that not sound like in hell?