A Residential School Legacy

1002 WordsMar 31, 20115 Pages
A Residential School Legacy From the late 1800s to the 1980s, more than 100,000 First Nations children in Canada attended residential schools (Llewellyn, 2008, p. 258).2 To attend these schools, children were taken away from their families and communities. At the schools, the children suffered from emotional, physical, sexual and spiritual abuse (Steckley & Cummins, 2001, p. 191). The worst abuses were often used as punishment for speaking their indigenous languages (Petten, 2007, p. 22). The imposition of residential schools on First Nations children has led to significant loss of indigenous languages, and this language loss has led to further cultural losses for traditional First Nations cultures in Canada. 2 APA style requires…show more content…
Besides damaging family and community relationships, the loss of indigenous languages also distanced many First Nations people from their traditional belief systems. One common belief among First Nations traditional cultures is that “all of life is spiritual: everything that exists, animals, plants, people, rocks, the sun and stars have elements of sacredness” (Rajotte, 1998, p. 21). This suggests that aboriginal peoples’ connection to nature is crucial to their A RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL LEGACY 4 A. Robinson & J. Robinson / 2009 (revised March 2010) Sample Essay APA Style WR4.35 spirituality. Aboriginal spirituality is passed on orally by elders through myths and rituals. Without knowledge of their traditional languages, young people could not learn about the spiritual beliefs of their people. This spirituality was all encompassing, affecting not only their thoughts about the spirit world but also their knowledge of places, plants and animals and traditional skills such as fishing, trapping, and tanning (Blair et al., 2002, p. 96). As Steckley and Cummins have pointed out, without access to the elders’ knowledge of nature, young people lost access to the beliefs and practices their people had developed over thousands of years (2001, p. 17). Therefore, the loss of language led to the loss of traditional spiritual beliefs and

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