Holly Jacobs


This article compares the historical development, purpose and legacy, and subsequent reconciliation and reparations efforts of Indigenous residential and boarding schools in the United States and Canada. In both nations, these schools comprised but one piece of a carefully crafted network of federal policies aimed at the removal, assimilation, and cultural genocide of Indigenous peoples, and as a result, had destructive and lasting effects on those they oppressed. By taking a comparative approach and examining the laws and policies surrounding boarding schools in light of settler colonialism, this article hopes to illuminate the efficacy of reconciliation efforts of each nation. Additionally, this article attempts to draw some conclusions regarding possible next steps for each country. The article concludes that the implementation of boarding schools in the U.S. and Canada constituted a deliberate policy of cultural genocide, and that reconciliation and reparations efforts in both countries have not yet achieved important goals, including increased Indigenous involvement and support for Indigenous self-determination regarding the outcomes of these efforts.

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