Teaching a school to talk: Archaeology of the Queen Victoria Jubilee Home for Indian Children

Date created: 
Residential school
Piikani First Nation
Historical archaeology
Early reserve era
Truth and reconciliation

The Indian Residential School System had a profound and devastating effect on Aboriginal people in Canada. The Victoria Jubilee Home (1897-1926) on the Piikani Reserve was one of the many schools with the mandate to civilize and assimilate Indian children. Although there have been many studies and research projects illuminating the social and political context in which the residential schools resided, little research has been done that concentrates specifically on the material culture. My research is an initial examination of this gap. Utilizing the methods of historical archaeology, I retell the history of the Victoria Jubilee Home to shed light on the daily activities within the school, and how the material culture facilitated, along with the imposition of institutional forces and behaviour, the transition to a reserve lifestyle. This project underscores how the historic and social differences begun in the past remain pervasive in present society.

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Eldon Yellowhorn
Environment: Department of Archaeology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.