Aboriginal Education In Canada

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For generations prior to the European arrival, aboriginal people practiced a strict culture in their native land now known as Canada. However, the early settlers conveyed the notion that their lifestyle was upon the highest accomplishment of mankind. Aboriginal people were seen as savages and incompetent of surviving in modern society. In resolution, the Canadian government issued an aggressive school system in the 1880’s that would “culture” the Aboriginal children. This system was managed by churches, whose purpose was to educate the child by adapting them into the mainstream Canadian society. This nonetheless, became a very serious issue that questioned Canada’s democracy and the basic civil rights that came along with it. In addition, this destructive system left a long range of impacts. Residential schools undermined Aboriginal culture causing a profound displacement of aboriginal people even to this day.

In the late 19th century, Prime Minister Sir John Alexander Macdonald assigned Nicholas Flood Davin, both a journalist and politician, to study trade schools for Aboriginal children. This research was done in the United States, which in itself had influenced Canada to warrant a system of their own. This ultimately led to a publically funded new school system. “If anything is to be done with the Indian, we must catch him very young. The children must be kept constantly within the circle of civilized conditions” (Davin), implying that if a system comes into effect, it must have an aggressive approach in conjunction with it. Establishments of residential schools had widespread along the country. The Indian Act, issued in 1920 by the federal government, made it mandatory for every aboriginal child to attend a residential school...

... middle of paper ... seemed to unfold due to the residential school system. Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized to all former students of the system addressing the assimilation policy as "wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country” (Harper). This apology acknowledged the various damages involving Aboriginal identity that the system created and established a better relationship with the Aboriginal people of Canada. The negative impacts the residential school system created clearly outweighed any positive effect, if any, that was made at all. It is the power to assist and to maintain a sense of culture, that, despite all odds, brought the First Nations people to the cultural reaffirm mission increasingly evident in Canada today. Nevertheless, Aboriginal culture took a tremendous weakening for future generations of today due to the residential school system.
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