Lesson 2: Health Issues within Residential Schools
It has been reported that while residential schools were trying to eradicate Aboriginal cultural traditions, beliefs, and values amongst its students, the schools also served as a breeding ground for many serious illnesses that sometimes went untreated. There are a high number of incidences of deaths and serious illness during the residential school era. Some of the diseases that students were subjected to were tuberculosis, pneumonia, measles, smallpox, and malnutrition.
Distribute the following vocabulary sheet to your students. They will be able to find the definitions by utilizing the information in the Student Zone Glossary.
Residential Schools Vocabulary Worksheet
The main focus of this assignment is for students to do a research project on the health and wellness issues associated with residential schools. It is suggested that you limit students research to deal primarily with residential schools in Alberta, however they may draw upon information from other provincial residential schools for comparison analysis.
Print out the following health issues on individual strips of paper and randomly distribute to students. Students will focus their research on the health issue they received. For example, if they received SMALLPOX, then they would focus their research project on how the incidence of smallpox within residential schools affected students and their communities. They will want to ask questions such as “what is small pox?,” “how is it generally treated?” “What were the rates of smallpox within a standard residential school?” “What kind of treatment did Aboriginal students receive?” and so forth.
Students may begin their search in the Student Zone section. Other websites you may want to direct them to are:
You should also discuss resources that are available in your school library with the librarian. It is also suggested that students include photographs where necessary to highlight their research report.
It is up to your discretion the marking and content criteria for this assignment.
Note: if possible contact an Aboriginal Friendship Centre or Native
Counseling Services of Alberta to see if they can arrange for a residential
school survivor to come and speak to your students. This would be a powerful
presentation so it is essential that students have some background
understanding of residential school issues prior to the presentation.