- The Circle Game: Shadows and Substance in the Indian Residential School Experience in Canada by Roland Chrisjohn, Sherri Young, Michael Maraun (review)
- University of Toronto Quarterly
- University of Toronto Press
- Volume 69, Number 1, Winter 1999/2000
- pp. 296-298
- View Citation
- Additional Information
296 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 saw fit. Compare her with Constance Lindsay Skinner (as discussed by Jean Barman), who worked in an equally eclectic number of genres but partly because she had to write to live and to support her mother. This accounts in large part for her relocation from the West Coast to New York, a move necessitated by access to a market. Outside academe, sheconsidered herself a serious historian, particularly of the western pioneer experience. It is tempting to consider what she might have been able to contribute had she gained entrance to the mainstream. Arguably, her work would not have been as good: entrance to the club usually carries with it obligations to follow the rules of the club. Barry Moody'S work on Esther Clark Wright begs a similar sort of guestion. Clark Wright might be seen as having been lumbered by an ineffectual English husband, but Moody argues that Wright's own ineffectiveness as an economic historian and acknowledgment of his wife's greater talents left her scope to develop them, which she did by writing the history of her own Maritimes. Isabel Skelton (interestmgly, Terry Crowley does not follow the usual convention of giving her back her birth name) also stretched the bounds of conventional marriage while leaving that institution intact. Like Clark Wright, Murphy Skelton also deferred to her husband's career, only this time to the dynamic and successful O.D. Skelton. Living a life under the marital shadow, her career looks more like that of Agnes Maule Machar, many years her senior. Kathleen Wood-Legh, profiled here by Megan Davies and Colin Coates, was unencumbered by a husband but was encumbered by personal blindness. Like Skinner an expatriate, Wood-Legh lived on the edges of the historical profession and did not achieve her doctorate (from Cambridge) until age sixty-six. The remaining two chapters are on SarahAnne Curzon, an impaSSioned believer in both Canadian nationalism and women's suffrage (by Beverly Boutilier) and on the study of women's history as it began to appear in the early 1970S (by Deborah Gorham). This lastchapter in the collection rounds out the history of women's history-making in Canada and leaves llS prepared for the next stage, hopefully a regendermg of history in general. This is a fine addition to the field of Canadian historical scholarship. (JANICE DICKIN) . Roland Chrisjohn and Sherri Young with Michael Maraun. The Circle Game: SJmdows and Substance in the Indian Residential School Experience in Canada Theytus Books 1997· 328. $16.95 When University of Guelph psychologist Roland Chrisjolm and his colleagues were meeting in the early 1990S with the Cariboo Tribal Council in the interior of British Columbia, one woman elder described the problem with residential schools abuse succinctly. To the researchers' observation HUMANITIES 297 that they had not thought to ask survivors what about their schooling experience angered them, the woman responded, 'That's easy.' She was 'angry that nothing has ever been done about it. I've been angry for fifty years, and all anybody does is try to talk me out of it! And that makes me angry, too!' The interjection epitomizes the central purpose and argument ofThe Circle Game, an indirect product ofChrisjohn's work with the Cariboo Tribal Council. The authors are angry that little has been done to address the problems that aboriginal individuals and communities carry becauseof residential schooling. And they are just as annoyed that what little has been done has, in their opinion, been wrong-headed. The Circle Game rejects explanations of residential schooling that treat abus~rs as aberrations and victims as individuals in need of psychological healing. This approach - which the authors label the Standard Account blames the victim, medicalizes and individualizes a collective problem, and sidesteps issues of justice, both communal and individual. 'Aboriginal Peoples are not J/sick" people in need of "therapy" and "healing:" we are wronged people in need of justice.' In their alternative account residential schooling is not an aberration but an essential element of a campaign to eradicate aboriginal people, 'genocide' in their terminology, and perpetrators are agents of an oppressor society. Above all, an approach that emphasizes the medical...