Residential Schools In Canada

Why were these residential schools created?

These residential schools were made and constructed for two and only two primary objectives; remove and segregate children from their families, traditions, values, and homes and to also assimilate them into the more dominant culture. These objectives were based on the singular belief that Aboriginal spirituality was just inferior and unequal.    The 19th century Canadian Government believed it was essential for the aboriginal children to become well educated and taken cared of. They made it mandatory for the aboriginals to learn English and to abandon their traditional beliefs for Christianity. All residential schools that were operating were "joint ventured" with Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian, or United Churches. The children were ordered to be taken from their families by priests, Indian agents, and police officers. All schools were rigorous with the children and were severely punished if any of them tried to disobey the rules. Some of these rules include not talking in native tongue, speaking with others, and making any physical gestures. Most of the time children were not permitted to visit their parents and were left to stay at school from the day they entered. They were not even allowed to interact with their own siblings at some schools. Medical treatment, nutrition, and even the basic needs to live were not properly served towards them which lead to sickness and diseases.  They were utilized as cheap laborers without payment. Basically, Residential Schools are concentration camps in disguise.             

Effects on Aboriginal People

Aboriginals have been traumatized by the whole event that is unfortunately a part of Canadian history forever. A countless amount of Aboriginals had to witness the corrupted ways of the government conducting these horrendous occurrences and most of these people are already dead. Some of them have died as children whiles others couldn't handle the impact of it all. Drug abuse, alcoholism, and committing suicide were their only options to ending their everlasting misery of the past. Only a handful of survivors are still alive today to share these graphic experiences with the world. Children were separated from their parents, grandparents, and communities which are all important to the children since they don't have anyone to look up to. They can't even prosper when they are not taught the right knowledge and skills needed to take care of one's self and family. Children were affected physically, mentally, emotionally, and physiologically by the supporting school staff. Labour was made for woodworking, agricultural, and sewing and this took away time from their education in which most people only made it to Gr.5.  Many Aboriginals that took part in this cruel act have experienced a loss of identity that has been stolen away from them.          

How can we help?

Ways to help these people are by making a petition to support the need for an overall equal education to others. Shannen Koostachin was a 14 year old girl who was able to achieve her goal of getting proper funding for the First Nation Aboriginal Schooling System. She was able to because she was determined to have her people learn in an enriched and academic environment. Others were encouraged by this and continued with the movement. There are even Aboriginal community-based programs that people can visit that include community wellness programs, health care, and children/youth services. This is beneficial for those who are in need of of care. Aboriginal festivals can also help bring the spirit up and its a way to let your feelings go. Its also a good way for most individuals in Canada to understand what it means to be an Aboriginal and the way they live their lives. There is a lot of people who are not aware of what the aboriginals had to go through and some think the aboriginals have it good since there's no taxes to be paid or free university tuition. Understanding their scenario will help build a mutual respect and trust as citizens of Canada.

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