As Saul is confined in the school he experiences assault emotionally, physically and spiritually, being in the face of entrenched preconceptions and racism. When your innocence is stripped from you, when your people are denigrated, when the family you came from is denounced and your tribal ways and rituals are pronounced backward, primitive, savage, you come to see yourself as less than human. That is hell on earth, that sense of unworthiness. That’s what they inflicted on us” (Wagamese 81). Saul’s life at the residential school is overshadowed by the system as he assimilates that those who resist are beaten, tortured and starved until they surrender, succumb to the abuse or commit suicide.
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