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The Colonial And Contemporary Social Roots

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The Colonial and Contemporary Social Roots of Problems in Aboriginal Education in Urban Canada The long era of the residential school system in Canada is officially over, with the last school having closed its doors nearly two decades ago, in 1996. Yet, the problematic legacies of the residential schools and the colonial mindset behind these schools continue to haunt the Canadian education system, frustrating and undermining its attempts to educate, engage and empower aboriginal students. Strong traces of the racist attitudes and institutional disadvantages continue to inform, however subtly, integral features of the “mainstream” Canadian society. Many Native people in Canada today are met with the contradiction of being simultaneously discriminated against and patronized as historical victims. However, as Robin R.R. Gray observes, “While many of the negative learned behaviors associated with colonization, White racist culture and residential schools have been passed on to the children of [residential school system] survivors, so has a tradition of resiliency, survival, and strength” (Gray, 2011, p. 11). It is these latter traits possessed by today 's post-residential school youths, inherited from parents and grandparents who likely did attend residential schools, that educators must focus on in crafting curricula and pedagogical strategies that take seriously the continuing project of decolonizing aboriginal education. Even if educators have tried in recent decades to
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