Tyla Betke standing outside in front of green hedgePh.D. student Tyla Betke has just had a paper published in the The Canadian Historical Review. The abstract is posted below while the full paper, “‘Not a Shred of Evidence’ :Settler Colonial Networks of Concealment and the Birtle Indian Residential School” is available online.


This article examines how the network of settler colonial systems in Canada worked to ensure the widespread and intentional cover-up that allowed one man to remain in the Indian Residential School (IRS) system for over two decades (from 1910 to 1932) despite overwhelming evidence of his abuse. Using genocide scholar Andrew Woolford’s metaphor of settler colonial mesh as a framework, this article details the 1930 case against Birtle Indian Residential School Principal Henry B. Currie to understand the multiple strategies of concealment used to protect him. A multitude of actors and institutions were involved in the coverup: the Indian agent and the Department of Indian Affairs, the Presbyterian Church, the court systems, and the public press. Strategies of concealment included blatant bribery, transferring accused principals to other schools, document falsification, forced marriages, and misreporting runaways, along with the IRS system itself, which kept children from their families and support systems. The article concludes with a discussion of settler claims of ignorance and the role archives play in revealing the truth about abusers within the IRS system.