Images are powerful tools for shaping perceptions of the past. In the context of sport at Canadian Indian residential schools, photographic images were consciously constructed and carefully selected and have been subsequently recirculated by contemporary media. Images of smiling, happy children at play at Canadian Indian residential schools have been used to lend credence to notions of sport as an unquestionable force for good without considering the context in which the images were created. In this paper, we explore how media, including online public repositories and newspapers, have taken up images of sport, specifically hockey, at Indian residential schools and how they evoke ideas about the nation and Indigenous–settler relations in Canada. We argue that photographs of residential school sports reinforce colonial narratives that lend ideological weight to settler colonial rule.

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