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A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System
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A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  120 ratings  ·  18 reviews
For over 100 years, thousands of Aboriginal children passed through the Canadian residential school system. Begun in the 1870s, it was intended, in the words of government officials, to bring these children into the “circle of civilization,” the results, however, were far different. More often, the schools provided an inferior education in an atmosphere of neglect, disease ...more
Paperback, 424 pages
Published May 31st 1999 by University of Manitoba Press (first published May 17th 1999)
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4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  120 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Extremely comprehensive thanks to the access to archival documents given the author and his team. This book should be mandatory high school reading - though it's not an easy read by any means. There is a lot of repetition, the result of the book's structure and commitment to thoroughness. Well worth the effort; a history we should all be familiar with, remember, and take action to eliminate in ourselves - the dominant culture - the arrogance that allowed residential schools, and their continued ...more
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic harrowing account of the Canadian government's horrific treatment of Aboriginal peoples - I think everyone in Canada should have to read this book.
Quinn Strange
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very wordy and repetitive, but those are pretty minor gripes. Everybody should read this book. And keep in mind there's more to the story. This is only the side of government, and the voices of the victims still need to be heard. I guess that's for another book.
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
'Really liked it' seems an odd way of rating a book about a system of national child abuse, but this book definitely deserves four stars. It's a scholarly, yet accessible, thoroughly-researched history of the evolution and implementation of residential schools in Canada. Another book that should be required reading for all Canadians, even though some of the stories of maltreatment are hard to bear.

The book wasn't available in any of the libraries near here: I had to get it on interlibrary loan.
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Milloy's is a detailed history based largely on the archives of the Department of Indian Affairs. His central argument emerges clearly from the evidence: the Canadian government had the knowledge and the ability to enforce (or at the very least, incentivize) better management of the residential school system and better treatment of the students, but they did not. The colossal failures of the southern system were even brought to the Northwest Territories in the 1950s to be repeated in a wholly ne ...more
May 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Currently reading this book and finding it highly disturbing to think how deliberate government policy was designed to destroy native culture in Canada using residential schools to "civilize" aborignal children.
This makes me feel ashamed to be a Canadian. This book is a quality piece of scholarship and is also quite readable, albeit the depressing nature of the topic.
This is a book that needed to be written and ought to be read by many.

Malcolm Watts
Allysa Khan
Sep 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An excellent legal-historical recounting of the documents and institutions that enabled and continue to enable colonization in Canada against Aboriginal Canadians. Milloy does an excellent job of tracing the complicity of the church and government via the Indian act in allowing colonization. Only complaint is that racism as a tool of colonization is not discussed or addressed in Milloy's work.
Paul Burrows
Jul 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you've never read a book about residential schools in Canada before, this is a good place to start -- and helps explain to people why kidnapping the children of a targeted people and forced assimilation constitutes a form of genocide.
Oct 06, 2010 is currently reading it
All Canadians should read this book!
May 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
so glad I read it - think it should be mandatory reading for all canadians. And given the subject matter, the book was surprisingly readable. But heartbreaking.
May 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Warning: this one gave me nightmares!
Jen Winter
Dec 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Canada's shameful history of Residential Schools. Everyone needs to understand what happened so that we can work together to heal our Native communities.
Dec 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a historical look at residential schools in Canada snd the impacts it has had on First Nations people.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, non-fiction, school
This is a chilling report of what happened at Residential Schools in Canada. Clearly a lot of research went into this over several years. It's heartbreaking to realize what exactly took place for so many years.

As my first eread, I appreciated getting to read this for free through my school library's website. That said, I missed reading off of paper. So, paper books it is for me!
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is such a large part of Canadian history and we never learn about it in schools. It is shameful that it started, continued even after criticism, and lasted well beyond when it should have and that needs to be better acknowledged.
Ethan Zeidenberg
Well written and researched but with no discussion of why the information is relevant or impactful, which I found to limit the text's usefulness in comparison to other similar books.
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-books
Dense, but so so so worth the read.
Dec 02, 2016 rated it liked it
A National Crime by John S. Milloy is one of the most difficult books I've ever read. Exceptional research and respect for the subject matter, which is deeply disturbing as it centers on Canada's First Nations people suffering all manner of abuse at residential schools sanctioned by the government and run in large part by churches. That Milloy gives us the definition of genocide at the outset and shows how First Nation and Inuit Canadians were subject to that very atrocity with both care for tho ...more
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