The twentieth century ushered in an era of progressive education for urban British Columbian students. For Indians living in the Stikine Indian Agency, education meant a seasonal missionary classroom or a distant residential school, and almost certain exposure to deadly communicable diseases or other forms of abuse. During their compulsory attendance at these schools, Indian cultures and languages were aggressively attacked. Half-days spent in the classroom channelled young Indian students towards the bible, minor trades, the farm, and domestic services, none of which prepared them for life after residential schools, neither in the bush nor in the urban environment. The echoes of this failed mission school education policy still reverberate through contemporary schools, in the form of poor educational outcomes and abysmal skills assessments for the students of the Stikine. Heritage stewardship and place-based education projects in the local community offer brighter horizons for future students.
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Thesis advisor: de Castell, Suzanne
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