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Residential School Abuse in Canada

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Providing True Reparation: Changes the Government of Canada Must Make in its Current Policies Towards the Addressing Legacy of Residential School Abuse

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

Residential schools were first established in the 1880's to solve Canada's “Indian Problem”. Settlers in Canada thought of the First Nations people as savages, and the goal of the residential schools was to civilize them and integrate them in to white Canadian society. The first operators of residential schools thought of their forced integration as a benefit to native peoples. One of the overseers of residential schools wrote to the Sisters in charge of St. Joseph's Mission at Williams Lake that “It now remains for ...

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... April 10, 2014. http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/02/24/first_nations_youth_call_for_fiveyear_action_plan.html.

The Provincial Advocate For Children And Youth. Feathers of Hope. Compiled by The Provincial Advocate For Children And Youth. Toronto: n.p., 2014. Accessed May 21, 2014. http://digital.provincialadvocate.on.ca/i/259048.

Stanton, Kim. "Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Settling the Past?" The International Indigenous Policy Journal 2, no. 3 (August 30, 2011): 1-20. Accessed May 18, 2014. http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1034&context=iipj.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Interim Repot. Winnipeg, Manitoba: Government of Canada, 2012. Accessed May 17, 2014. http://www.attendancemarketing.com/~attmk/TRC_jd/Interim_report_English_electronic_copy.pdf.
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