A “Lack of Homelike Surroundings”: Resident Health, Home, and Recreational Infrastructure at Pelican Lake Indian Residential School, 1952–1962


  • Braden Te Hiwi


Sport and recreation infrastructure was a central factor in the promotion of resident wellbeing at Pelican Lake Indian Residential School. Quite remarkably, sport and recreation amenities were primarily intended by local administrators to promote the resident’s social and psychological well-being—and not their physical health. School administrators focused their efforts on building a gymnasium that they believed would enhance school life and better care for youth by creating a sense of “home.” This article explores the complexities and contradictions of recreational activities that were often used by residents to improve and support their well-being, although they were experienced within an institution that was frequently a foundation of social and psychological trauma. 

Author Biography

Braden Te Hiwi

Braden Te Hiwi is Assistant Professor in the Indigenous Studies Program at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus.