Indian School Days

Front Cover
University of Oklahoma Press, Mar 1, 1995 - Biography & Autobiography - 256 pages
2 Reviews
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This book is the humorous, bitter-sweet autobiography of a Canadian Ojibwa 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! It was a word synonymous with residential school, penitentiary, reformatory, exile, dungeon, whippings, kicks, slaps, all rolled into one,” Johnston recalls. 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 Indian boys who struggled to adapt to strange ways and unthinking, unfeeling discipline. Even the Jesuit teachers, whose flashes of humor occasionally broke through their stern demeanor, are portrayed with an understanding born of hindsight.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - charlie68 - LibraryThing

A book about a man's life in a Indian residential school. A tough life for students and staff during the forties and fifties. While nowadays the Indians were unquestionably the innocents. You won't ... Read full review

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My Grandfather attended St Peter Clavers residential school. This book really gave me some insight on how he was treated and what he went through. It is honestly devastating how people were treated back then. I highly recommend.


Sentenced to Spanish
Holidays and Holy Days
The Year Round
Summer Holidays
The Cattle Drive
And One Beast
Farewell Spanish Justice and Farewell
New Learning and Cultural Conflict
Football Chemistry and Tired Chickens
The Bean Rebellion and Graduation

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About the author (1995)

Basil Johnston has written several books ranging from folk tales and humorous stories to works on the Ojibwa language. After St. Peter Claver's School, he studied history and English at Loyola Collage, Montreal, and attended teachers' college. He is a lecturer in the Ethnology Department of the Royal Ontario Museum.

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