Unlearning at White Settlers’ School;Erasure of Identity and Shepherding the Indian into Christian fold: A Study of Shirley Sterling’s My Name is Seepeetza

Virender Pal

University College, Kurukshetra University Kurukshetra. ORCID ID:0000-0003-3569-1289. Email:

Volume 9, Number 1, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v9n1.20

Received January 20, 2017; Revised April 8, 2017; Accepted April 10, 2017; Published May 7, 2017.


The policies adapted by the whites in different colonies were different. In imperialist setups the natives were subjugated, but in ‘settler’ colonies elaborate strategies were devised to break the native societies. One of the policies was to take the native children away from the families. These children were kept in state and church run institutes to nurture them in white culture. In the recent years a lot many narratives written by these ‘stolen’ children have been published in Canada, the United States of America and Australia. These narratives are the vehicles for articulation of pain and trauma these children had to undergo. The current paper is a study of Shirley Sterling’s My Name is Seepeetza. The story in the novel is narrated by a twelve years old girl. The young girl’s authentic narration shows how Christianity was used as a tool to oppress and torment the young children by the missionaries. The young narrator not only narrates the trials and tribulations faced by the children in such residential schools, but also shows how the transmission of culture to the next generation was interrupted.

Keywords: Residential schools, Indians, Christianity, priests, sisters.