The Sociological Effects of Residential Schools

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During the 19th century the Canadian government established residential schools under the claim that Aboriginal culture is hindering them from becoming functional members of society. It was stated that the children will have a better chance of success once they have been Christianised and assimilated into the mainstream Canadian culture. (CBC, 2014) In the film Education as We See It, some Aboriginals were interviewed about their own experiences in residential schools. When examining the general topic of the film, conflict theory is the best paradigm that will assist in understanding the social implications of residential schools. The film can also be illustrated by many sociological concepts such as agents of socialization, class inequality, and language as a cultural realm.
According to conservative conflict theory, society is a struggle for dominance among competing social groups defined by class, race, and gender. Conflict occurs when groups compete over power and resources. (Tepperman, Albanese & Curtis 2012. pg. 167) The dominant group will exploit the minority by creating rules for success in their society, while denying the minority opportunities for such success, thereby ensuring that they continue to monopolize power and privilege. (Crossman.n.d) This paradigm was well presented throughout the film. The European settlers in Canada viewed the natives as obstacles in their quest of expansion by conquering resources and land. They feared that the aboriginal practices and beliefs will disrupt the cohesion of their own society. The Canadian government adopted the method of residential schools for aboriginal children for in an attempt to assimilate the future generations. The children were stripped of their native culture,...

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Assembly of First Nations (2010, July). First Nations Control of First Nations Education. Retrieved from
CBC (2014). A history of residential schools in Canada - Canada - CBC News. Retrieved from
Curtis, J. E., Tepperman, L., & Albanese, P. (2012). Sociology: A Canadian perspective(3rd ed.). Don Mills, Ont: Oxford University Press.
Indigenous Foundations (n.d.). The Residential School System. Retrieved from

Bob, Geraldine and Gary Marcus. (Directors). 1993. Education As We See It. in First Nations: The Circle Unbroken- Disk 4 [Film]. National Film Board of Canada.