Throughout history First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people have faced centuries of colonial suppression (Stout and Kipling, 2003, p. 5). One of the tools used for suppression was through the formation of residential schools. Many First Nation lives were significantly changed by the creation of residential schools, even for those who did not attend them. Residential schools were created with the intent to “force assimilation of the Aboriginal people in...
Canada likes to paint an image of peace, justice and equality for all, when, in reality, the treatment of Aboriginal peoples in our country has been anything but. Laden with incomprehensible assimilation and destruction, the history of Canada is a shameful story of dismantlement of Indian rights, of blatant lies and mistrust, and of complete lack of interest in the well-being of First Nations peoples. Though some breakthroughs were made over the years, the overall arching story fits into Cardinal’s description exactly. “Clearly something must be done,” states Murray Sinclair (p. 184, 1994). And that ‘something’ he refers to is drastic change. It is evident, therefore, that Harold Cardinal’s statement is an accurate summarization of the Indigenous/non-Indigenous relationship in
The over-representation of Aboriginal children in the Canadian Child Welfare system is a growing and multifaceted issue rooted in a pervasive history of racism and colonization in Canada. Residential schools were established with the intent to force assimilation of Aboriginal people in Canada into European-Canadian society (Reimer, 2010, p. 22). Many Aboriginal children’s lives have been changed adversely by the development of residential schools, even for those who did not attend them. It is estimated that Aboriginal children “are 6-8 times more likely to be placed in foster care than non-Aboriginal children (Saskatchewan Child Welfare Review Panel, 2010, p. 2).” Reports have also indicated that First Nations registered Indian children make up the largest proportion of Aboriginal children entering child welfare care across Canada (Saskatchewan Child Welfare Review Panel, p. 2). Consequently, this has negatively impacted Aboriginal communities experience of and relationship with child welfare services across the country. It is visible that the over-representation of Aboriginal children in the child welfare system in Canada lies in the impact of the Canadian policy for Indian residential schools, which will be described throughout this paper.
The creation of the Residential Schools is now looked upon to be a regretful part of Canada’s past. The objective: to assimilate and to isolate First Nations and Aboriginal children so that they could be educated and integrated into Canadian society. However, under the image of morality, present day society views this assimilation as a deliberate form of cultural genocide. From the first school built in 1830 to the last one closed in 1996, Residential Schools were mandatory for First Nations or Aboriginal children and it was illegal for such children to attend any other educational institution. If there was any disobedience on the part of the parents, there would be monetary fines or in the worst case scenario, trouble with Indian Affairs.
The Indian act, since being passed by Parliament in 1876, has been quite the validity test for Aboriginal affairs occurring in Canada. Only a minority of documents in Canadian history have bred as much dismay, anger and debate compared to the Indian Act—but the legislation continues as a central element in the management of Aboriginal affairs in Canada. Aboriginal hatred against current and historic terms of the Indian Act is powerful, but Indigenous governments and politicians stand on different sides of the fence pertaining to value and/or purpose of the legislation. This is not shocking, considering the political cultures and structures of Aboriginal communities have been distorted and created by the imposition of the Indian Act.
Genocide, assimilation, and segregation-- these are all forms of cultural and ethnic cleansing that we as Canadians do not necessarily associate with what it means to be a Canadian, rather they are terms that we associate with occurrences in distant, dangerous and abysmal places (Fleras, 2012; p. 10). However, these terms are evidently applicable to the treatment of Aboriginals during the time of European colonization of Canada. Genocide is considered to “be the most serious of punishable crimes under international law…” (Fleras, 2010; p. 11); unfortunately, genocide has been inflicted upon Aboriginals in numerous forms as they suffered a loss of cultural identity through European-colonization. Assimilation has also affected Aboriginals as through the use of residential schools, Aboriginal children were taken from their families and forced to learn the dominant white way of life and abandon their culture (Fleras, 2010; p.13). Segregation of Aboriginals has also occurred, as reserves are restricted purely for individuals with Indian citizenship, hence keeping Aboriginals separate from the dominant culture (Fleras, 2010; p. 15). There is a lack of awareness on the horrendous and disgusting treatment of the original Canadian settlers, Aboriginals, which can be partially attributed to a narrative that has helped create the image of what it means to be a Canadian, a narrative that has provided the belief that white Europeans were the first to settle on Canadian land and has painted a picture of white settlers struggling to survive on their discovered Canadian land. This narrative has been termed the ‘frontier narrative’, and it truly has shaped Aboriginals lives in Canada. This paper will provide first and foremost a clear definition o...
Do you know that despite Canada being called multicultural and accepting, Canada’s history reveals many secrets that contradicts this statement? Such an example are Canadian aboriginals, who have faced many struggles by Canadian society; losing their rights, freedoms and almost, their culture. However, Native people still made many contributions to Canadian society. Despite the efforts being made to recognize aboriginals in the present day; the attitudes of European Canadians, acts of discrimination from the government, and the effects caused by the past still seen today have proven that Canadians should not be proud of Canada’s history with respect to human rights since 1914.
Even today, one can witness how poorly the First Nations are being treated by the Canadian government. In most aspects of life these people are being given less respect than any other race and culture in the country. Since the time that the European settlers arrived in Canada, they wanted to completely assimilate the natives’ ways of life . They did this in many ways. For instance, the white government decided that the best way to takeover the First Nations’ culture was through their children. They set up “residential schools”, which were schools created by the Canadian government. All aboriginal children under the age of sixteen were forced to attend, and these schools would turn the children against their own ways of life and force them to become Christian. At these schools the children were assaulted and beaten when they spoke anything but English, and had to practice the ways of the white children. Creating these schools was the ultimate act of assimilation, as the government was destroying the First Nation people from the ro...
In order to attend residential schools, Aboriginal children were taken away from their families and communities. The proper definition of Aboriginal people or Aboriginal includes Métis, Inuit, and First Nations regardless of where they live in Canada and regardless of whether they are “registered” under the Indian Act of Canada (Stout and Kiping, 2003:5). Throughout history First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people have faced centuries of colonial suppression which has disrupted the process of Aboriginal cultural identity formation. One of the tools of suppression is through the formation of residential schools. At the schools, the children suffered from emotional, physical, sexual and psychological abuse (Stout and Kipling, 2003:8). The trauma to which Aboriginal people were exposed in the past by residential schools continues to have major negative effect to the generations to follow.
Similar to other marginalized groups affected by colonialism due to the government in power, the Indigenous peoples of Canada have struggled as a nation due to the unequal treatment they have encountered in the past. The governing bodies that control these Indigenous communities have continued to have colonialistic tendencies that attempt to put the ‘white man’s’ needs before the Indigenous peoples.
Living in Canada, there is a long past with the Indigenous people. The relationship between the white and First Nations community is one that is damaged because of our shameful actions in the 1800’s. Unnecessary measures were taken when the Canadian government planned to assimilate the Aboriginal people. Through the Indian Act and Residential schools the government attempted to take away their culture and “kill the Indian in the child.” The Indian Act allowed the government to take control over the people, the residential schools took away their culture and tore apart their families, and now we are left with not only a broken relationship between the First Nations people but they are trying to put back together their lives while still living with a harsh reality of their past.
Conservative ideologies, at best, are convoluted and conflicting where First Nations peoples are involved. Since the introduction of the Indian Act of 1876, which gave rise to the Canadian federal government enacting the first treaty to ‘…protect, guide and ensure the traditions of the Indian’s.’, the federal government has been actively seeking new opportunities to dissolve the First Nations reservations or the identity of First Nations people. The one-sided and cultivated beliefs of assimilation stems not only from paternalistic colonizers with a dominating attitude, but as well from the belief that ‘Indians’ were considered to be sub-human because of their affiliation with nature and their surroundings. This Conservative form of assimilation [now referred to as integration] has been the focal point in many of the discrepancies that First Nations people have faced since the introduction of this Indian Act.
For decades First Nations people1 faced abuse in Canada's residential school system. Native children had their culture and families torn away from them in the name of solving the perceived “Indian Problem” in Canada. These children faced emotional, physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of residential school supervisors and teachers. Since the fazing out of residential schools in the 1960's the survivors of residential schools and their communities have faced ongoing issues of substance addiction, suicide, and sexual abuse.2 These problems are brought on by the abuse that survivors faced in residential schools. The government of Canada has established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to address these issues but it has been largely ineffective. Though the Government of Canada has made adequate efforts towards monetary reparations for the survivors of residential schools, it has failed to provide a means to remedy the ongoing problems of alcohol and drug addiction, sexual abuse, and suicide in the communities of residential school survivors.3
Every year, over 250,000 people make Canada their new home. Attracted by its education system, economy and universal healthcare system, there are few other places in the world like it. All Canadians are guaranteed equality before the law and equality of opportunity, regardless of where they are from. However, some might argue that Canadian policy has not been put into practice as well as it should be. Is the concept of true equality a far-fetched idea? It seems that Canada has taken great measures to promote the integration of immigrants socially, but can the same be said for their integration economically? Politically? To judge whether or not Canada has been successful at promoting the integration of immigrants in these realms, a deeper understanding of Canadian policy must be considered.
histories among a Canadian indigenous population: An empirical exploration of the potential role of Canada's residential school system." Social Science & Medicine. 74.10 (2012): 1560-1569. Print.