Ep 9: Residential Schools and Their Theological Motivations with Melanie Kampen

In this episode, Dean and Matt talk with Melanie Kampen, a doctoral student at Emmanuel College in Toronto. Melanie’s work explores the theological motivations for residential schools, where North American Christians tried to alienate Indigenous children from their families and culture for much of the twentieth century.


  • Dean becomes free labor for IKEA.
  • Melanie helps us understand how Christians saw residential schools as a natural expression of their Christianity.
  • Mennonites are cool but also complicated.
  • Hauntology.
  • The problem with forgiveness.
  • Violence–we can’t stop talking about it.
  • What would happen to churches and theological spaces if we started with an awareness of trauma and an aim toward harm reduction?
    • That’s it. Just please read.

Some resources Melanie mentioned to check out:

  • We Were Children, a documentary on residential schools on Netflix.
  • Unsettling the Settler Within by Paulette Regan
  • The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King


***Content warning*** some content may be triggering for survivors of residential schools and their friends and family.


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