As previously stated, the main goal of the residential school system was to assimilate aboriginal children and was thought to make them more functional in Canadian society. Children ranging from 4-16 were taken from their homes and families and re-homed in institutions with the goal of assimilation in mind (Nagy, 2012). These institutions were often incredibly harmful to the students because they were not well kept or staffed, and were severely underfunded. These issues resulted in malnutrition, diseases, abuse, and even death. Children who attended were subject to abuse emotionally, physically, and sexually (Chansonneuve, 2012). Along with these issues, the absence of family, native language, and tradition caused the children to feel …show more content…
Some other affects of residential schools as described by elders include: loss of language, loss of sexuality, loss of spirituality, developing shame to people, anxiety, and loss of traditional food source (Chartrand, 2006).
The Métis people of Canada were not originally required to attend residential schools. The Roman Catholic Church urged the government to include these people to increase funding, and fill up the schools. The government initially opposed this idea, but admitted Métis to the school only when there were not enough “Indian” students in the area where the school was located. Many Métis children were not even recorded as enrolled in the institutions making it difficult to determine exactly how many children attended (Logan, 2006).
The Residential School experience proved to be even harder for Métis children. They were referred to as “Half-Breeds” and were not recognized by the First Nations and Non-First Nations so they were considered outsiders by both. A study done by Tricia Logan explains that although the Métis children were subject to the same conditions and rules as the other children, when surveyed it was clear that their stories differed from those of other First Nation’s (Daniels, 2006). Along with already being considered outsiders by those around them, the funding for Métis children also created the image of them being “outsiders” (Daniels, 2006). A survivor of Ile a La Cross school recalls that his institution could not afford the same
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The first residential school opened in Canada in the 1830’s and closed in 1996, these schools were made for indigenous children. The children did not leave at free will they were “forcibly taken from families — sometimes at gunpoint — and flew them to remote locations they could not escape — sometimes in tiny handcuffs — where they were submitted to a program” (Staniforth). When the children arrived they were stripped of their clothing, cut their hair and given European clothes and the “European look”. They were not allowed to speak in their own language or practice their traditions, aboriginal culture and spiritual beliefs were seen as unequal and thought that the children should learn the ways of Euro-Canadians and only speak English or French. They forced these children to practice a catholic faith and attend church, if these rules amongst many others were not obeyed they would experience severe consequences. The consequences ranged anywhere from being physically, mentally, emotionally and even sexually abused. The schools were ridden with pests, illness, lice and were overpopulated, children were even experimented on to see the effects of malnutrition. The lack of funding for these systems caused them to use children as labourers and said that it “built character”(Staniforth). The education was very limited and the girls were
Residential School’s were introduced back in the 1870’s, they were made to change the way native children spoke their languages and how they viewed their cultures. The residential school system in Canada was operated by the government, where the native children were aggressively forced away from their loved ones to participate in these schools (1000 Conversations). The government had a concept, where they can modernize the native children, aged of three to eighteen and extinguish the aboriginal culture. In the twentieth century the Canadian Public School’s had arrived and had improved treatments than residential schools. In Contrast, the treatments within these schools were both different, whereas Canadian public school students had more freedom than residential school students because children were taken away from their families. However, the treatment in these schools were different and some what similar. Even though Residential schools and Canadian Public schools were similar in some form, there were numerous amounts of differences in how the children were taught, how they were treated and how their living conditions were like throughout these schools.
Many survivors are suffering from what is called Residential School Syndrome (RSS) which is similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It was not until 1951 when the Indian Act revision was changed allowing children to attend public schools and 1969 when Indian Affairs took over the schools from the churches. It was not until 1996 when the last residential school, Akaitcho Hall, closed its doors. During the +100 years that the residential schools were operated many students were subjected to conditions comparable to a concentration camp, as one author noted. The physical, emotional and cultural trauma that these students experienced lead to a future of poverty, loss of language, alcohol abuse, family violence, and suicide for many. Every aboriginal student, be it First Nations, Inuit, or Metis, who have attended residential schools dealt with racism and were treated as inferior. This generated self-doubt resulting in more than 3 out of 4 students failing public school, and less than 3% having graduated high school. As Battiste stated: “It robs them of their learning spirit and potential”. Even with over 68% of First Nations involved with provincial schooling, infant mortality rates are still doubled that of Canadians, their suicide rate is 7 times higher, the unemployment rate is 3 times higher, the literacy rate is 50% that of Canadians and most indigenous live below the
In reflecting on that Wab shared of his father’s experience in the residential school system, information gathered from the text, as well as my own prior knowledge, operated under various religious organizations, in tandem with the Government of Canada, residential schools were one of the methods used to assimilate Aboriginal children into white society (textbook). Tasked with the responsibility to “remove the Indian from the child” such was accomplished through whatever means necessary, whereby come the stories of physical and emotional abuse, in addition placing many children under experiments involving malnutrition (Erin discus). The consequences of such schooling then included, an increased number of generations growing up outside the family environment, these individuals no longer fitting into their Aboriginal communities, yet they are not accepted in
While the initial objective was for the schools to help integrate First Nations children into the mainstream society they lived in, this integration clearly became an attempt at conversion. The children were removed from their families for extended durations, attempting to ensure Canadian-Christian upbringing. The residential schools original goal drastically changed, with their disgraceful policy regarding forbidding Aboriginal children from any kind of acknowledgement and recognition of their native language and culture. There are numerous reports of physical, psychological and sexual abuse experienced by Indigenous children in residential schools and painful consequences that in most cases last a lifetime (Hanson, E.).
The trauma that the Residential School students faced has left them with long term social complications. Viola Papequash a survivor of Gordons Residential School exclaims “They are now struggling with a lot of issues, and one is identity and self-esteem and being proud of who they are” (Source C). Furthermore, Residential schools took confident young children proud of who they are, and confident in their religion and straight up turned them into what Richard Wagamese (an Intergenerational Survivor) would say as “frightened children” (Source E). Grant Severlight a survivor of St. Philips’s Residential School shares that Residential schools caused him to live in constant fear and living in constant fear ruined his “Relationships later on” (Source B). Survivors did not know how to take care of themselves so that caused them to be incapable of taking care of others. All those quotes stated above help paint the bigger picture of how Residential Schools Affected the Social aspect of the survivors’ life. When those innocent
The schools affected not only the individuals who attended them but also the families that they were torn from and future generations as the effects of these schools are quite complex. Traditions, culture and language are just a few of the things that were stripped away from the people who were forced to attend them. The assault on the Aboriginal identity started as soon as the children arrived at the school. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in their book, “They Came for the Children”, “Once stripped of their clothes, students were roughly bathed. Braided hair which often had spiritual significance was cut” (22). The aim of the Residential schools, which were run by the Roman Catholic missionaries, was to “civilize and Christianize” (10) Aboriginal children and the only way to truly complete this task was to separate the children from their parents, as well as their culture and enforce that only English was spoke, which ultimately resulted in the loss of language for many. In order for children to fully receive a new identity, children were given new names and often assigned a number to help the school keep track of them. On student retells the experience in the book, “They Came for the Children” by explaining, “I was number one hundred and sixteen. I was trying to find myself; I was lost. I felt like I had been placed in a black garbage bag that was sealed. Everything was black, completely black to my eyes and I wondered if I was the only one to feel that way” (23). Children were terrified after being taken away from the parents and brought to these large schools were everything that they have known and grew up learning was slowly taken away one by one. Rosanna Deerchild’s mother attended one of these Residential Schools and it is through conversations with her that Deerchild retells her stories in calling down the
Residential schools were mandatory for all Aboriginal children to attend. These schools “separated children from their families and communities, forcing them to speak English and worship according to European Christian customs while inflicting great physical, emotional and sexual abuse, poor living conditions, lack of adequate medical care and food on them.” (Cooper & Salomons 2010, 34). Cooper & Salomons (2010) argued that the motive of residential schools towards girls was to din male-controlled norms into Aboriginal societies so that women would lose their leadership and voice in the society. The impact of colonialism and residential schools are a large contributor to violence perpetrated against Aboriginal women in Canada today, “…the residual impacts of residential schools are felt by the families of missing and murdered women…”(Cooper & Salomons 2010, 34), even till present date.
Residential schools were put in place by the Canadian government as a way to “refine” native communities into the broader culture and keep the native children from continuing their heritages’ traditions. In the short, yet powerful video clips shown in Practical Nursing Professional Growth class, our class was confronted with horrific stories told by residential school survivors of what they had encountered while attending. Raymond Mason, Alice Littledeer, and Madeline Dion Stout were all forced to abandon their language, culture and way of life in order to adopt and adapt to European languages such as English or French, new habits, and foreign religious sects. All three of these survivors had awful traumatic experiences such as being forbidden to speak their Aboriginal languages, forced haircuts for boys and girls, sexual assault, physical abuse, and segregation between genders; brothers and sisters were not allowed to be in contact. While watching these videos, I was filled with emotions such as sadness, disgust, and anger towards these schools, all while being completely shocked that I am now just learning about residential schools in college, and how that is absolutely unacceptable, and that every Canadian citizen should be informed about this in history classes in high school; it is imperative.
After days, months, years of being physically and sexually abused, shamed, bullied, breaking ties with their families and having their identity stripped because they were “different”; let anxiety and depression start to get ahold of them. “Separated from their parents, they grew up knowing neither respect nor affection. A school system that mocked and suppressed their families’ cultures and traditions, destroyed their sense of self-worth.”(TRC Introduction). This introduces the idea of depression and anxiety beginning to unfold as words can not explain the pain and hurting they went through. “Children who had been bullied and abused, carried a burden of shame and anger for the rest of their lives. Overwhelmed by this legacy, many succumbed to despair and depression. Countless lives were lost to alcohol and drugs.”(TRC Introduction). There is no doubt that the Canadian government was racist towards the First Nation Peoples. The racism lead to the school system and the Survivors depression and anxiety. “The residential school environment was deeply racist. It presumed the intellectual inferiority of the children and it demeaned Aboriginal culture, language and parenting. The students were treated as if they were prisoners who required strict discipline simply because they were Aboriginal.”(TRC 227). Racism and the feeling of anger
Residential School are an aspect of Canadian history that will haunt our nation. Derived from the Anglican Church, Methodist Church, and Roman Catholic church’s desires to educate and convert the indigenous people of the land. (Miller, 2008) The churches thought that the indigenous people were savages and needed to be assimilated into their beliefs. (Hanson, n.d.) 30% of indigenous children were forced into Residential Schools, 6,000 died while in the care of these boarding schools. (Tasker, 2015). These institutions used methods of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse to sterilized these children such as piercing the tongues of children with needles who dare to speak their native language
Residential schools first opened in the late 1880’s with the last one closing in the later 1990’s. The Canadian government was responsible for the initiation of residential schools while it was the churches (Anglican, Presbyterian, United, and Roman Catholic) responsibility to educate and oversee the overall running of the schools. Hanson (2009) writes “The purpose of residential schools was to eliminate all aspects of the Aboriginal culture.” It is through looking at the history of residential schools and facing the assimilation forced upon Aboriginal children and their families, along with the abuses endured that a reconciliation between all involved with the uprising and running of these schools that all can come together in moving forward
Residential Schools: A Case of Aggressive Assimilation The Canadian government assumed that it was accountable for the care and education of Aboriginal children. The Residential School system was developed to ensure the assimilation of every Indigenous child in Canada. These schools were terribly unsafe for children and exhibited horrible living conditions, including abuse, malnutrition and isolation. Conditions in residential schools continue to negatively impact communities, generations later, contributing to violence, alcoholism and surprising statistics seen from Aboriginal communities.
The use of residential schools was cruel. First Nation students were treated poorly, they were forced to forget their cultural and about their family. Firstly, First Nation students were treated like human experiments. For example, the students would be starved on purpose just to see how long they will survive without food. Young girls were sexually abused to death and many students, both male, and female, were brutally beaten up. Due to this many students died and there were only a few survivors. Secondly, In residentials schools “Indian” students were forbidden to do anything related to their culture. For example, according to http://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/;” some students had needles shoved in
The author of this journal article explores the effects of the residential school the Aboriginals were forced to attend. He states that the Aboriginal population comprise of the First Nation, Inuit, and Metis. The author’s focus is on the Indigenous health, educational status, health status disparities, and age factors. The author carried out a study using survey on these groups of people who live on reserve areas. The research was done using different age groups of people from the Indigenous community, both on the people that attended the Indian Residential School (IRS) and the people that did not attend the residential school to get a valid and non-biased result. The research used survey questionnaires on the point-scale of 1 to 5 to measure