Indian School Days


Author:
Johnston, Basil H.
Grade Levels:
Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, College, University
Nation:
Ojibwe, Woodland
Book Type:
PB
Pages:
250
Publisher:
University of Oklahoma Press

Price:
Sale price$29.95

Description

Indian School Days is the humourous, bitter-sweet autobiography by Ojibwe linguist and storyteller Basil Johnston who was taken from his family at age ten and placed in Jesuit boarding school in northern Ontario. It was 1939 when the feared Indian agent visited Basil Johnston's family and removed him and his four-year-old sister to St. Peter Claver's school, run by the priests in a community known as Spanish, 75 miles from Sudbury. Spanish was a word synonymous with residential school, penitentiary, reformatory, exile, dungeon, whippings, kicks, slaps, all rolled into one. But despite the aching loneliness, the deprivation, the culture shock and the numbing routine, his story is engaging and compassionate. Johnston creates marvelous portraits of the young boys who struggled to adapt to strange ways and unthinking, unfeeling discipline. Even the Jesuit teachers, whose flashes of humour occasionally broke through their stern demeanor, are portrayed with an understanding born of hindsight. Basil Johnston studied history and English at Loyola Collage, Montreal, and attended teachers' college. He was a lecturer in the Ethnology Department of the Royal Ontario Museum and is the author of several traditional story collections as Ojibwe language guides and curriculum.

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