Reading Response #6

Muffins For Granny

In the 1870’s, Canadians started something that should have never happened to the indigenous people. The 1870’s marked when the first residential schools opened up for the indigenous kids. Canada felt as if they needed to provide and education system for indigenous kids. The kids that were taken from their families were basically stripped of their identity when they were taken to the residential schools. Residential schools were not a good thing, for kids and the families as described by the many people who were interviewed during “Muffins for Granny.” During this film, several survivors of residential schools were interviewed and all told their story of what happened to them while they were there.

During my viewing of “Muffins for Granny,” I learned some facts that I had no clue about before I started watching the video. The first thing that caught my eye was how young they took kids from their families. The one lady who was speaking said she got taken from her family at age six. At a young age they were stripped from their original culture, assigned a number that they were called by and forced to speak English. Secondly it was crazy how many deaths that occurred in the residential school system. They were very unnecessary deaths. Many of the kids that had friends died as described by the older women. They could have done at least something to keep the death total down. There was 3,200 deaths that were confirmed and the kids were unnamed. After that the government stopped keeping track of how many kids were dying. People think there was upwards around 6,000 deaths in residential schools and maybe more. It’s pretty sad that there was so many deaths that they had to stop keeping track. Lastly, something that I didn’t know that came from the article was how cruel the punishment was to the kids. If the teachers or leaders in the school system didn’t like something they saw, kids would be punished in ways such as: pierced with needles in the tongue, electric shock, burning hands and lastly the most gross of them all, feeding kids their own vomit. The punishments I think was one of the reasons why I think the death count was so high. They were kids and getting treated with the most disrespect possible. These people were supposed to be helping the kids but instead they were slowly killing them. The worst punishments came when kids tried to run away.

Continuing on the punishments, one thing that puzzled me from the video was how harsh the punishments were to these kids. They were taken from their families then treated like absolute dirt when they got to the residential schools. They were just kids and didn’t know any better. I get that there should be some consequences if kids were misbehaving but they shouldn’t have been as extreme as the punishments were. I am a strong believer that the reason the death count was so high is because the punishments.

I had a few questions that stuck in my mind during and after watching the video. The first was were families aloud to see their kids? The second question I had was were families notified if they had a family member die? Third, I am curious to see the actual number of deaths. They said “around” 6,000 deaths. There could have been many more. Residential schools started closing down in the 1990’s. The last one that shut down was in 1996 for obvious reasons. It is insane how bad the residential schools effected people after they were out. Most people abused drugs and alcohol to cope with their depression.

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