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A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879 to 1986 [Paperback]

John S. Milloy
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 17 1999 Manitoba studies in native history (Book 11)
For over 100 years, thousands of Aboriginal children passed through the Canadian residential school system. Begun in the 1870s, it was intended, in the words of government officials, to bring these children into the “circle of civilization,” the results, however, were far different. More often, the schools provided an inferior education in an atmosphere of neglect, disease, and often abuse.
     Using previously unreleased government documents, historian John S. Milloy provides a full picture of the history and reality of the residential school system. He begins by tracing the ideological roots of the system, and follows the paper trail of internal memoranda, reports from field inspectors, and letters of complaint. In the early decades, the system grew without planning or restraint. Despite numerous critical commissions and reports, it persisted into the 1970s, when it transformed itself into a social welfare system without improving conditions for its thousands of wards. A National Crime shows that the residential system was chronically underfunded and often mismanaged, and documents in detail and how this affected the health, education, and well-being of entire generations of Aboriginal children.

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A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879 to 1986 + Shingwauk's Vision: A History of Native Residential Schools
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About the Author

John Milloy is professor in the departments of Native Studies and History, and Master of Peter Robinson College, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario. 

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Milloy captures the story of residential schools in a detailed review of Government of Canada documents. The story is shocking.... the Canadian federal governments role in trying to assimilate Aboriginal children is clearly stated as are the numerous documents confirming that the government knew about the prolific deaths and abuses of Aboriginal children in these schools as far back as the late 1800s and did almost nothing to stop it. There is no doubt about it... the tragedy of residential schools was not an accident - it was a planned strategy on the part of the Government of Canada to eliminate Indian children.

This book also highlights some great Canadian heros who joined with Aboriginal peoples to bring attention to the tragedy of residential schols like Dr. PH Bryce who wrote the report the book is titled after "A National Crime" in 1922 saying that one in two Aboriginal children were dying in the schools from preventable disease or S.H. Blake, a leading human rights lawyer, who claimed Canada brought itself into "unpleasant nearness to manslaughter" when it ignored Bryce's report.

For Canadians,students and human rights advocates interested in preventing ongoing human rights abuses perpetrated by governments, including our own, this is a must read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In depth resource Nov. 21 2011
Very in depth resource that is written at a University level of understanding. Isn't really a tool to base lessons from, but is an excellent resource to use to supplement understanding.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Canada's Shame Oct. 6 2011
I am a non-aboriginal person who wanted to know what really happened to many First Nations children of Canada. It was sickening. I'd read a few pages and would have to stop as I was overcome with anger, shame and sadness. It took weeks to get through the horrors revealed in this book. Canada will never be the same for me.
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