Victims of Benevolence: The Dark Legacy of the Williams Lake Residential School


144 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55152-015-X
DDC 371.97'979





Reviewed by Jean Manore

Jean Manore is a policy assistant at the Department of Native Affairs in


Elizabeth Furniss, an anthropologist by training, has had a long
association with the Cariboo Tribal Council. This book, an outgrowth of
research she conducted for the council, attempts to explain
Native/non-Native relations within the context of Native education. The
focal point of Furniss’s analysis is the deaths of two
residential-school students, Duncan Sticks and Augustine Allan.

The strongest chapters are 1 and 4. Chapter 1 provides a sweeping
overview of Native–government relations with respect to such issues as
settlement, the Indian Act, and the goals of Native education. Chapter 4
uses the information provided at the inquest to recount the events
surrounding the death of Duncan Sticks. Chapters 5 and 6 are the
weakest. The former is undermined by giant gaps in logic, while the
latter fails to provide an adequate explanation of the “structural
problems” that Furniss believes were responsible for the tragic deaths
of Sticks and Allan. Reproduced in the appendix is the opening address
of Chief Bev Sellars, Soda Creek First Nation, to the first National
Conference on Residential Schools, held in June 1991.

Despite its weaknesses, this book should be of some value to readers
who want nothing more than a quick overview of the history and legacy of
residential schools.


Furniss, Elizabeth., “Victims of Benevolence: The Dark Legacy of the Williams Lake Residential School,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 23, 2024,