General Life At The Kamloops Residential School Analysis

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General life at the Kamloops Residential School was tough and grim. On the first day of school, students were given no time to learn the system or any of the English language; they were thrust into the daily routine, and European culture, very quickly. They were given identification numbers which was written on the few belongings they did have. One interviewee recalls being “denied . . . . any personal identity. “I was called, ‘Hey, 39. Where’s 39? Yes, 39, come over here. Sit over here, 39.’ That was the way it was” (“The Survivors Speak,” p. 67). In the late 1940s though, changes were made that actually benefitted some students. The introduction of high school as well as increased presence of extracurricular activities and sports meant …show more content…
In Resistance and Renewal, Haig-Brown expertly describes the resistance of the students at the school:
While cultural invasion had begun in earnest, the forces of opposition were also gorming ranks. It is this strength of resistance which has ensured the survival of the Shuswap people as a nation today despite the efforts of both governments and missionaries to undermine their cultural roots and have them become an indistinguishable part of the dominant society. (Haig-Brown, 1998, p. 57)
Stealing was a common act of defiance and was one of the most frequent. Partly prompted by hunger, students often stole food to eat, share, and barter. In fact, “The sharing of stolen food resulted in the development of a particular sub-culture” (Haig-Brown, 1988, p. 99), one of intricacy, involving multiple students. Another form of resistance was that of verbal resistance—silence was a tactic to frustrate the staff while maintaining their dignity. Haig-Brown (1988) remarked, “With her dignity relatively intact and the nun’s frustration leading her to make a display of outrage, Sophie felt she had won the battle. She was not humiliated because she did not cry” (pp.

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