Sunday 30 May 2021

Statement on the Indian Residential School Policy May 30, 2021.

 It is with a heavy heart that your editor and, I am sure, the other members of the Victorian Society of Alberta, has watched the unfolding of the discovery of the remains of 215 children, some as young as three, in an unmarked grave at the Residential School in Kamloops BC.

The atrocity which was/is the Indian Residential School policy happened "On our watch" and as a group which studies and celebrates the Victorian and Edwardian Eras in Western Canada, we must include it, recognize it, and try to understand it. The results of this attempted cultural genocide are still being felt today by the survivors and descendants of those directly impacted. There is no way to separate the development and settlement of the West from the attempted destruction of the Indigenous peoples that were already here when the "Victorian" colonists arrived.

We have included several excellent books in our Book Tuesday lists that can help with learning about and understanding how that tragic part of our history unfolded, and I think it is important that we understand it and recognize it as the inter-generational trauma that it is.

I have included a link below to the report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that concerns the "missing children and unmarked burials".

This article from the Edmonton Journal is sobering indeed:
Why so many children died at Indian Residential Schools

At some schools, annual death rates were as high as one in 20!

I urge all our readers and followers to read up on this and, as we continue to study and "enjoy" the history of the development of the Canadian West in the Victorian and Edwardian context, we must never lose sight of the fact of this Governmental, Religious, and Societal attempt to destroy, humiliate, and dispossess the original inhabitants of these lands.

Kevin Jepson
Webmaster/Editor for
The Victorian Society of Alberta


Canada's residential schools : missing children and unmarked burials: the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
"Canada’s Residential Schools: Missing Children and Unmarked Burials is the first systematic effort to record and analyze deaths at the schools, and the presence and condition of student cemeteries, within the regulatory context in which the schools were intended to operate. As part of its work the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada established a National Residential School Student Death Register. Due to gaps in the available data, the register is far from complete. Although the actual number of deaths is believed to be far higher, 3,200 residential school victims have been identified. The analysis also demonstrates that residential school death rates were significantly higher than those for the general Canadian school-aged population."


Monday 24 May 2021

Happy Victoria Day Holiday Monday!

 From the Canada's History website.

For many Canadians, the Victoria Day holiday weekend is the time to start thinking about summer. Bonus: It’s a day off school! But why do we celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria, who died nearly 115 years ago?

Until 1956, the birthday of the monarch—that’s the king or queen—of Great Britain was also celebrated in Canada, sometimes on his or her own birthday, sometimes around that time and sometimes on Victoria Day.

She was queen when Canada became its own country in 1867, and she was the one who chose Ottawa as our capital. After she died in 1901, the Canadian government declared that May 24 would be a holiday in her honour. (If the 24th fell on a Sunday, the holiday would be May 25.)

In 1957, Victoria Day was named the official birthday in Canada of Queen Elizabeth II. (In Great Britain, her birthday, which is actually April 21, is celebrated in June.) And Victoria Day is officially held on the Monday right before May 25.

Also just for fun 😁:



Tuesday 11 May 2021

May Book Tuesday

My apologies but I missed the April Book Tuesday and almost the May one too.

Better late than never I suppose. 😕

Victorian Society of Alberta

From Treaties to reserves
by D.J.Hall

Though some believe that the Indian treaties of the 1870s achieved a unity of purpose between the Canadian government and First Nations, in From Treaties to Reserves D.J. Hall asserts that - as a result of profound cultural differences - each side interpreted the negotiations differently, leading to conflict and an acute sense of betrayal when neither group accomplished what the other had asked. Hall explores the original intentions behind the government's policies, illustrates their attempts at cooperation, and clarifies their actions. While the government believed that the Aboriginal peoples of what is now southern and central Alberta desired rapid change, the First Nations, in contrast, believed that the government was committed to supporting the preservation of their culture while they adapted to change. Government policies intended to motivate backfired, leading instead to poverty, starvation, and cultural restriction. Many policies were also culturally insensitive, revealing misconceptions of Aboriginal people as lazy and over-dependent on government rations. Yet the first two decades of reserve life still witnessed most First Nations people participating in reserve economies, many of the first generation of reserve-born children graduated from schools with some improved ability to cope with reserve life, and there was also more positive cooperation between government and First Nations people than is commonly acknowledged. The Indian treaties of the 1870s meant very different things to government officials and First Nations. Rethinking the interaction between the two groups, From Treaties to Reserves elucidates the complexities of this relationship.

The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London Paperback
by Judith Flanders 

The 19th century was a time of unprecedented transformation, and nowhere was this more apparent than on the streets of London. In only a few decades, London grew from a Regency town to the biggest city the world had ever seen, with more than 6.5 million people and railways, street-lighting, and new buildings at every turn. Charles Dickens obsessively walked London's streets, recording its pleasures, curiosities and cruelties. Now, Judith Flanders follows in his footsteps, leading us through the markets, transport systems, sewers, slums, cemeteries, gin palaces, and entertainment emporia of Dickens' London. The Victorian City is a revelatory portrait of everyday life on the streets, bringing to life the Victorian capital in all its variety, vibrancy, and squalor. No one who reads it will view London in the same light again.