Date of Award

12-1994

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Anthropology

Supervisor

Richard J. Preston

Language

English

Abstract

The residential school experiences of 25 James Bay Cree individuals from Moose Factory who attended Horden Hall, an Anglican institution, are examined using the oral history method. Memories of residential school experiences reveal themes of the emotional significance of the first day, loneliness, routines, metaphors of involuntary institutionalization, separation into peer groups, resistance, gangs, punishment and abuse. Individuals had a range of negative and positive experiences in Horden Hall. The effects of residential school experiences on the individual, family of origin and community are explored. Individuals commonly experienced ambivalence over native identity, difficulty opening up emotionally and difficulty re-establishing close ties with their families of origin. The community of Moose Factory currently reflects the pattern of peer group interactions from Horden Hall in the area of socializing. By analyzing the generation of individuals who attended Horden Hall in the 1960s (17) collectively, culture change in terms of both altered life cycle and an altered culturally patterned psychological response, namely reticence, are examined. The life cycle of James Bay Cree individuals has been significantly altered from the traditional pattern. Reticence, a traditional, culturally patterned emotional response to a demanding subarctic physical environment, has been adapted by these individuals in response to the extreme social environment of residential school. Finally, the effects of residential school experiences on parenting in this community and culture are examined. Patterns of discipline and parental affection extended beyond infancy reveal a significant shift from traditional child-rearing practices of gradually acquired competence in the physical, mental and social environments through apprenticeship to adult standards.

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