The Residential School System Within Canada

1648 Words Dec 2nd, 2015 7 Pages
The residential school system in Canada was active for over a century, with the last one closing in 1996 (Troniak, 2011), yet many Canadians still remain unaware of this terrible part in our nation 's history. Throughout the time that these schools remained open, "over 150,000 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children passed through more than 130 residential schools in virtually every part of Canada" and it is estimated that more than half of them are survivors (Troniak, 2011). So if such a large number of fellow Canadians were forced into cultural assimilation, and either traumatized or killed (or both) in the process, then why is it that their stories are not told more often? To put it quite simply, it is because "power is maintained by the careful cultivation of ignorance".

While it is difficult to determine an exact definition for the term "indigenous peoples" due to the diversity of indigenous groups all over the world, there are a few traits that are common to most, if not all of them; indigenous peoples are descendants from the pre-colonial inhabitants of their respective regions, they maintain close ties with their land in both cultural and economic practices, they suffer from economic and political marginalization as a minority group, and if they define themselves as indigenous then they are considered to be as such (First Peoples Worldwide, n.d.). Indigenous groups are, perhaps more than any other group, deeply connected to their land. The connection between…
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