James Blackbird's Tragedy

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One man’s tragedy can define the lives of others. This was the result of the tragedy that befell James Blackbird in David Alexander Robertson and Scott B. Henderson’s graphic novel; 7 Generations. James, to the dismay of his wife and son, let these events define him and turn him into an alcoholic who never stopped mourning the loss of his brother Thomas Blackbird. Today, I want to prove that the long-lasting scars residential school left on him, should not cause him to be the source of blame for the shattering of his life.

Firstly, the actual real life events that occurred at residential schools, starting with the assimilation process, tore off the childrens cultural roots. The Canadian government did not like aboriginal culture and wanted to abolish their hold over the land to further the industrial way of life. They did this by cutting the young from their native culture, “Then they gave us new clothes to wear. Well, they weren’t knew… just new to us. Pretty soon we looked like whites. Except, you know, for the brown they couldn’t scrub away.”(76, Ends/Begins). During their time at the residential schools children were under the control of the christian church which ran the entire system, which forced most of them to convert to christianity. They were also bound to the school for 10 months a year and only allowed to see their family between years if they were lucky. When they could not visit their family they had to write letters to their parents. These letters couldn’t even be understood by the parents due to the fact that they were in english. This made the children practically forget all of their culture and beliefs when they were able to come back to their families. This prison-like school system killed a huge part of abori...

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...k up the dark cliff that he had been forcefully pulled into. He persevered to forgive himself for his actions and to be their for his son when he was needed. James went through the fiery depths of hell and should not be blamed as the one who is guilty but sympathized with as the victim.

Works Cited

"Oh, Canada! | Cultural Survival." Oh, Canada! | Cultural Survival. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2014. .

News, CBC. "A History of Residential Schools in Canada." CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 07 Jan. 2014. Web. 26 May 2014. .

Robertson, David, David Robertson, David Robertson, David Robertson, David Robertson, and Scott B. Henderson. "3." 7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Print.
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