Magazine article Anglican Journal

'Not Everyone Was Forced': Book by Former Bishop Strives to Tell Another Version of the Tragic Native Residential Schools Tale

Magazine article Anglican Journal

'Not Everyone Was Forced': Book by Former Bishop Strives to Tell Another Version of the Tragic Native Residential Schools Tale

Article excerpt

Eric Bays, former bishop of the diocese of Qu'Appelle, has written a book that some wish he hadn't.

Indian Residential Schools: Another Picture maintains that while abuses occurred in the federally-funded, church-run native boarding schools, good things also happened to students who attended them.

The schools were "a relief and comfort to poor orphans," writes Bays, adding that many parents wanted their children to attend residential schools and learn English. "Not everyone was forced," he says.

In an interview, Bishop Bays acknowledged that some may label him an apologist. But, he insisted, "I'm not trying to deliberately defend the ... schools. I'm trying to say that ... there is another side we have not yet considered as fairly as I think we should." Bishop Bays hopes the book will be seen as a contribution to the church's reconciliation process with the aboriginal people.

National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald says that while he has great respect and affection for Bishop Bays, he also believes the book falls short on measuring just how bad the school system was.

"I believe the residential schools system was an example of systemic evil," says Bishop MacDonald. …

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