Words Have a Past: The English Language, Colonialism, and the Newspapers of Indian Boarding Schools

By Jane Griffith

© 2019

For nearly 100 years, Indian boarding schools in Canada and the US produced newspapers read by white settlers, government officials, and Indigenous parents. These newspapers were used as a settler colonial tool, yet within these tightly controlled narratives there also existed sites of resistance. This book traces colonial narratives of language, time, and place from the nineteenth-century to the present day, post-Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 328 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.8in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

Words Have a Past traces settler colonial narratives represented in newspapers produced in late nineteenth-century Indian boarding schools.

Words Have a Past: The English Language, Colonialism, and the Newspapers of Indian Boarding Schools

By Jane Griffith

© 2019

For nearly 100 years, Indian boarding schools in Canada and the US produced newspapers read by white settlers, government officials, and Indigenous parents. These newspapers were used as a settler colonial tool, yet within these tightly controlled narratives there also existed sites of resistance. This book traces colonial narratives of language, time, and place from the nineteenth-century to the present day, post-Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 328 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.8in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "Words Have a Past is an outstanding piece of scholarship that brings impressive levels of depth and rigor to the study of Canadian Indigenous boarding schools. It sheds new light on the destructive patterns of settler colonialism by examining school newspapers and their representations of the assimilative project. In so doing, it brings to the forefront the various actors, diverse motivations, misrepresentations, and resistances that went into reporting on Indigenous Boarding Schools."


    Andrew Woolford, Department of Sociology, University of Manitoba
  • Author Information

    Jane Griffith is Assistant Professor in the School of Professional Communication at Ryerson University in Toronto.
  • Table of contents

    1. Bury the Lede: Introduction
    2. Printer’s Devil: The Trade of Newspapers
    3. Indigenous Languages Did Not Disappear: English Language Instruction
    4. "Getting Indian Words": Representations of Indigenous Languages
    5. Ahead by a Century: Time on Paper
    6. Anachronism: Reading the Nineteenth Century Today
    7. Layout: Space, Place, and Land
    8. Concluding Thoughts