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Date of Award

2006

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Anthropology

Supervisor

D. Ann Herring

Language

English

Abstract

The Norway House Residential School (NHRS), operated by the Methodist Church from 1900 to 1946, was located in Norway House, Manitoba. Like other Native Residential Schools at the time, the students suffered from poor health and a high mortality rate. Tuberculosis was the most common illness, although outbreaks of other infectious diseases, such as the common cold, influenza, and childhood diseases, occurred within the school. Health problems among the children can be linked to the numerous deficiencies of the Residential School system such as under funding, overcrowding, poor nutrition, little to no medical facilities, and poorly built and maintained buildings. The school environment was conducive to the spread of infectious diseases and increased the children's susceptibility to illness. However, the poor health of the children in the residential school can not be separated from the health conditions found in the children's home communities. The students of NHRS were not completely isolated from the residents of Norway House. They attended classes with the day school students and weekly church services. Thus infectious diseases circulating in the community and surrounding communities could easily spread to and from the school. Additionally, tuberculosis and the associated living conditions were a widespread problem in the home communities. Children were often exposed to the disease at home prior to enrolment at the school which lead to high rates within NHRS as well.

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