The Indian Residential School System

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First Nation children were forced to attend Indian residential schools dating back to the 1870’s and spanned many decades with the final school closing in 1996. These educational institutions were government funded and church run by Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, United and Anglican denominations (Truth and Reconciliation Commission, n.d.). There were 139 schools where more than 150 000 First Nations children attended. The children of these schools were mentally, physically, emotionally and sexually abused. There were a multitude of accounts of being strapped and needles piercing children’s tongues for speaking their native language. After a sentencing in British Columbia court of a supervisor of a residential school, Supreme Court Justice Hogarth called Arthur Plint a “sexual terrorist” it was also noted that “as far as the victims were concerned, the Indian residential school system was nothing more than institutionalized pedophilia” (First Nations Studies Program, 2009). In 1920 it became mandatory for every Native child to attend a residential school. It was illegal to attend any other main stream educational facility (First Nations Studies Program, 2009). The abuse that the victims suffered during their attendance at the residential school far from concluded at that point. It is evident that it has had an intergenerational effect culturally and psychologically and has caused an incredible loss of family dynamic. The United Nations definition of genocide is “the
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