Out Of The Depths Shines A Light On Residential Schools

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Isabelle Knockwood’s novel Out of The Depths shines a light on Residential Schools in Canada through the first hand accounts of twenty-seven survivors who attended the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School. Although Knockwood’s compilation of accounts are all from students of one residential school, the treatments and experiences echo the sentiments of students and authors over a much greater area. The affects of Residential Schools have had a lasting impact, affecting communities and individual generations later. Knockwood’s novel is very unique because it voices not only the harsh realities we associate with residential schools, but also personal experiences of appreciation for what the school(s) did. It will be interesting to look at…show more content…
Knockwood explains the enforcement of residential ideologies as a “combination of physical intimidation and psychological manipulation which produced terror and confusion” (12). The premise of residential schools was to strip Indigenous children from their culture and Indigenous identity, forcing them to only speak English, or face severe consequences. Despite the government and churches best efforts, many Indigenous children still maintained their cultural roots and kept their language while at home. This governmental need for assimilation has had lasting impacts far beyond the scope of active residential schools. Neeganagwedgin notes, “while the schools may be physically closed, the legacy lingers” (34). Beyond this, she urges, present-day institutions still function in a way that continues to undermine and systematically deny, “Indigenous peoples their inherent rights as First Peoples” (Neeganagwedgin 34); such as the justice system, child welfare and the education systems.
Research indicates that colonial policies related to residential schools, reserve communities, loss of traditional lands, and erosion of language and cultural traditions that lead to cultural continuity have created a loss of cohesion and identity in Indigenous communities which have impacted family health behaviors (MacNeil 6). Although this may

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