Here are some facts about the IRS system

  • There were residential schools for indigenous children, established and operated by Christian denominations, long before the Canadian federal system was established in ….
  • The motivation behind the creation of the Indian residential school system — a network of schools primarily funded by Ottawa and administered by “the churches” — appears to have been a mixture of Victorian benevolence (as many Aboriginal children were living in conditions of deprivation and ill health), practical considerations (how to provide education to native children living in small, remote communities), and a belief that assimilation of indigenous people into the general population was the best way to (a) help them survive and even thrive, and (b) reduce the drain on federal coffers that financial support for Aboriginal communities represented.  (Public statements and correspondence from Indian Affairs officials reveal a belief that removing native children from their home communities (and culture) and giving them a form of the education that non-Aboriginal children received would eventually transform the native population into Canadians “like the rest of us” and thus eliminate the need for an Indian Affairs Department.)
  • The phrase “kill the Indian in the child”, a term often used to describe the motivation behind the Canadian residential schools, was in fact uttered by an American general, …, who
  • The creation of residential schools in the United States was a strong influence in the decision to create a similar system in Canada.
  • The first of the schools to be included in the IRS system was …

The Full Story

This is a blog for everyone who thinks the current narrative about Canada’s Indian Residential School system is incomplete, misleading and, in some cases, totally in error. It’s also for those who have information and views of their own about the IRS system.  Courtesy and respect are strongly encouraged.

Disclosure:  I am the son of the Rev. J.E. (Ted) DeWolf, an Anglican minister from Nova Scotia, who in January of 1953, took his young family to the Blood (Kainai) Reserve in southern Alberta, there to serve the Bloods for 10 years as Principal of St. Paul’s Indian Residential School.  I attended classes at St. Paul’s for six years and, beginning with Grade 8, took the bus into nearby Cardston with the Kainai kids to complete my secondary education in the public (provincial) system.  Having pursued post-secondary education in Nova Scotia, I became a teacher and literacy coach in the Halifax system (as well as spending six years teaching English in Singapore) and am now retired, occupying myself with volunteering and putting together a book that brings together memories of my childhood on the Reserve, facts about the residential school system, and important issues facing indigenous Canadians, both in the past and in the present.