Hobart, Charles W. (1970) Some consequences of residential schooling of Eskimos in the Canadian Arctic, Arctic Anthropology 6(2): 123-135

Keywords: children and youthInuvikresidential schoolsresettlement

This article describes consequences of residential schooling for Inuit and white children in Canadian Arctic. Data was gathered by Hobart on three trips to the western Canadian Arctic during the summeƄr of 1963, the winter of 1963-64, and the summer of 1964. A total of 203 interviews were conducted. 159 interviews were conducted with children and their parents. The data were supplemented by classroom observations and of young people in their home communities.

According to Hobart, the residential school facility and the educational program that the children came to at Inuvik, Northwest Territories were indistinguishable from what would have been provided for white children in southern Canada. Children as young as six years old, from small and remote settlements, were flown as far as 800 miles to the Inuvik residential school. Most of these children knew no English, had never slept alone, and had never seen running water. Many had never seen more than 60 or 70 people at once. Some of these children lived in snow houses during the wintertime. In most cases, the parents of the children from the outlying regions knew nothing of the Inuvik life of their children, and the teachers knew almost nothing of camp life.

The residential school dormitory had modern bathrooms with running water and was overheated by Inuit standards. The children slept in their own beds in large rooms that housed between 60 and 70 other children.

Most children who returned from school, returned to tents, since even the small proportion of families that have permanent houses were away from them engaged in spring seal hunting. About two-thirds of the parents reported that their children complained of the cold following their return. Several former students said that it took about a year for them to feel like they could endure the cold so they could permanently resettle in their homes. Readjusting to the meat diet, was also an issue for children who returned from school.