An Indian Remembers

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In "An Indian Remembers," Mary Englund- a first nation woman- recalls her experiences in a Christian residential school. Her story describes the process of civilizing the native children to the European mainstream culture by isolation, racism, sever disciplines, and degradation. The aggressive attitude of the nuns and priests against their students apparently reinforced the effect of these manipulations to a greater extend.

Englund grew up in a large family in the natural environment of the Reserves, without any knowledge and educations about her outside world. Therefore, after moving to the convent, the process of assimilation seems to have stimulated Englund's curiosity in relation to her surroundings. It also created confusion for her about the purpose of such assimilations. This curiosity is apparent when she says: "I couldn't understand why I had to leave [my brother] in this other building while I went to this other building."(431).

In the school harsh disciplines created distress for the students including Englund, however, the fear of punishment prohibited them from any sort of disobedience.

In one case Englund describes how the nuns used "the razor straps for shaving"(438) to punish two girls for running away from the school. In addition to the fearful atmosphere of the convent, her narration suggests that she suffers from isolation as she learns about the lack of trust among her peers; and she clearly says: "I didn't trust nobody;"(436).

Consequently Englund distanced herself from the society that she lived in.

Other than disciplines, it is possible that the nuns also relied on degradation as another method to civilize the first nation students. Englund says: "[the nuns] were always degrading us because we were Indian."(438). It appears that as they get deprived from their Indian roots, they will adapt the European lifestyle. On the other hand, the nuns promoted...