Student Affiliate

Wolf Clan, Kanien’kehá:ka of Kahnawà:ke
PhD Educational Studies, DISE (McGill University) Vanier Scholar & Tomlinson Fellow

Multi-generational stories of Indian Day Schooling in Kahnawà:ke: Assessing impacts on Indigenous language and cultural identity transmission

Indigenous voices have been largely omitted from Canadian history. Canada has a long colonial legacy with much of the efforts to assimilate Indigenous peoples into dominant Euro- Canadian society focused on Indigenous children, primarily through institutions such as Residential Schools and Indian Day Schools. These practices resulted in pain and trauma that continues to affect Indigenous families and communities today. As a Kanien’kehá:ka woman from Kahnawà:ke and Indigenous researcher, I am undertaking this study to ensure that our voices are heard. This research examines Indian Day Schools as sites of Indigenous acculturation. The objective is to understand impacts of Indian Day Schools from the perspective of former students and to contextualize prevailing attitudes and obstacles to present-day Indigenous language and culture revitalization. This Indigenous storywork project builds on my Master’s thesis, “Child-Targeted Assimilation: An oral history of Indian Day School education in Kahnawà:ke” (Individualized program, Concordia University, 2019). My research centralizes Kanien’kehá:ka life stories about navigating historic and multigenerational trauma while demonstrating identity reclamation, healing, and resilience. I hope to demonstrate through both my research and personal journey that our strength and resilience runs deeper than our trauma. As Indigenous peoples, we can harness the transformational power of education for the sake of our future generations.