Indian Residential Schools, Settler Colonialism and Their Narratives in Canadian History

Tricia Logan

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Canadian history is often divided on how to represent and describe the Indian residential school system. As a system of industrial-boarding style schools it forcibly removed First Nations, Métis and Inuit children from every region of Canada in order to covert them to Christianity, assimilate them into Canadian society and impose the ‘national pattern’ of Canada on to generations of Indigenous children. This study examines the history of Indian residential schools using oral histories of residential school Survivors, who provide details about their forced removal, treatment at the schools and intergenerational impacts they faced after leaving the schools. These narratives are placed in context with Canadian history, which often under-emphasizes the role this school system had in creating Canada as a nation-state. This study contextualizes the history of the schools and the history of Canada as settler colonial genocide. The schools did not operate in isolation and they were part of a series of political and societal mechanisms in Canada, created to extract Indigenous presence from Canada. Settler Colonial genocide in Canada is far-reaching, temporally, socially and spatially. Use of the term ‘genocide’ remains under debate in Canada and as it is applied to cases of genocides against Indigenous peoples. This study should be a contribution to Canadian historiographies and it should address this debate and create a position in relation to the debate. As Canada faces an era of reconciliation, these histories and contexts of settler colonialism are scrutinized but they are also used to acknowledge experiences of Survivors that were covered up in Canadian history for several decades.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Stone, Dan, Supervisor
Award date1 Jun 2017
Publication statusUnpublished - 2017


  • Canada
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Residential Schools
  • Canadian History
  • Colonialism
  • Settler Colonialism
  • Colonial Genocide

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