Controversy has surrounded Residential Schools for Indigenous

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					        Controversy has surrounded Residential Schools for Indigenous people in Canada

since their creation in the early 19th century. This essay will begin by focusing on a

historical analysis of residential schooling, followed by 3 significant Anthropological

theories and will conclude by examining recent developments in the reconciliation

process. The historical analysis includes how residential schooling first began and who

put the plan into order. I will look at the introduction of residential schooling, starting

with the missionaries and Jesuits who were unsuccessful in the early 1600‟s to the

Canadian Federal Governments forced education for Indigenous children in several

residential schools in the late 1800‟s until the 1980‟s.



        Ashamed of their past Canadians are not likely to discuss their abusive missionary

history. What we know from the past will help one heal in the future thus discussing the

history of missionary work and their abusiveness in institutions is fundamental. Long

before Europeans came to North America, aboriginal people had a highly developed

system of education. There was a great deal of skill, intellect and respect for aboriginal

children to be taught before they could survive on their own. Their outdoor community

was their classroom; they called their land their mother of the all people (Kirkness 5).

They adapted to change and survived on their own for hundreds of years before the

interference of European culture. Aboriginal elders and parents passed on survival skills

through experiential learning to their children, as well as their history, artistic ability,

music, language, ethical, building shelters and spiritual values (Kirkness 6). Since the

beginning of the 17th century First Nation peoples have been stripped of their land,

culture and spiritual beliefs, this can been seen through the establishment of residential
schools (Factors and themes in native education and school boards/First Nations tuition negotiations and tuition agreement

schooling).   The government was a major factor in the establishment of these schools, and

was not alone in the administration of residential schooling, four Christian

denominations, the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, as well as United and

Presbyterian churches were involved with the education system, not to mention the abuse,

of native children. The first organization to implement residential schools was the Roman

Catholic Church in the 1600s and was then followed by the involvement of Protestant

Churches in the turn of the 19th century (Kirkness 7). The association of the government

within the residential school system can be traced back to 1874 lasted throughout the

1950s and 1960s (Factors and themes in native education and school boards/First Nations tuition negotiations and tuition

agreement schooling).   The church‟s responsibility was to manage the schools, provide funds

towards the operation, and most importantly guide the children to Christian civilization

(Kirkness 10). The government was responsible… All schools were federally

government operated in partnership with various religious organizations until 1969, when

the government assumed full accountability. The government alleged that in order to end

the “Indian problem” they would have to put into place several church-run, government-

funded residential schools for native children. This would expose native children to a

form of Christian civilization (). Residential schools were located in every territory and

province with the exception of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.



     The goal of residential schools were to prepare children for life within a

white/European society, they would try and meet these acts of providing an education for

Aboriginal children as they were obliged to within the Indian Act. Canadian Europeans
felt it necessary to take native children away from their homes, family, friends and

community to better educate them. Europeans perceived the nuclear family as the correct

way to function in society, this was what the „proper‟ family and home should look like

not taking into consideration the different cultural lifestyle Aboriginal peoples live by.

Traditional ideas of a native family is much larger than this, they take care of each other

as a community (book). Social workers in vision a good home in terms of physical

resources for example each child should be given their own separate bedroom, each home

should contain a sewage or septic tank and running water. When inspecting the

households of native families most didn‟t reach this standard as 33 percent of native

reserves in 1981 had more than one person per room. This in turn questions the

Aboriginal peoples way of family life, does sharing a bedroom cause detrimental effects

to one‟s childhood, according to the European lifestyle it was an unsuitable lifestyle.

Children were forcibly removed from their homes and were sent to a residential school

for months at a time. Some schools were so far away from their home that visitation was

impossible. Children were taken away for what the Europeans alleged were “health

reasons” and were put in the care of a foster family who lived close to a hospital; some

children were never seen again once they left their community. The schools purpose of

residential schooling was to re-socialize and assimilate aboriginal children by forcing

them to learn new values and skills that pertain to a different culture and way of life.




Although residential schools no longer exist, the pain and suffering continue to affect the

daily lives of many survivors. People would not openly discuss their experiences at
residential schools, they preferred to see them as lost memories or because it was merely

too agonizing for one to recount. It wasn‟t until 1998 that the federal government of

Canada announced the creation of a 350-million-dollar Healing Fund. This Healing Fund

was put in place to support Canadian First Nation communities in redressing the effects

that residential schooling inflicted on them (Telling secrets: sex, power and narratives in indian residential

school histories).   As well as providing Aboriginal peoples with a Healing Fund the

Government provided a statement acknowledging their active role in the administration

of the schools.
Aboriginal Residental Schools
Long before Europeans came to North America, aboriginal people had a highly developed system of
education. There was a great deal for aboriginal children to learn before they could survive on their own.
Aboriginal elders and parents passed on not only survival skills to their children, but their history, artistic
ability, music, language, moral and religious values.

When European missionaries began to live amongst aboriginal people, they concluded that the sooner they
could separate children from their parents, the sooner they could prepare aboriginal people to live a civilized
(i.e. European) lifestyle. Residential schools were established for two reasons: separation of the children
from the family and the belief that aboriginal culture was not worth preserving. Most people concluded that
aboriginal culture was useless and dying and all human beings would eventually develop and change to be
like the 'advanced' European civilization.

Early residential schools were similar to religious missions. Later, the mission-run schools were
administered jointly by Canadian churches and the federal government, and for a number of years,
residential schools became official Canadian policy for the education of Indian

...
Provincial education curriculums did not change to reflect the educational needs of aboriginal children. The
elders in fact seen a major change in the way the children were acting, they would refuse to do chores and
would often talk back and often became violant. The school demanded very little in comparison. Loneliness,
sickness, confusion and abuse all had to be borne in lonely silence. Aboriginal children continue to have
difficulties fitting in to the existing schools, which are still designed around a culture alien to their own. They
were issued clothes and assigned a bed number. Aboriginal people have demanded, and received, official
apologies from the Anglican, United and Roman Catholic churches which operated residential schools. All of
this must have been a staggering shock to the new "student" .

Many things combined to make the experience difficult for young aboriginal children. After several years
away at school, children often found it difficult to speak their mother tongue. The residential school
experience continues to plague First Nations education. The white man's school contradicted everything
these aboriginal children had learned at home. "The organization of the schools and the content of the
curriculum conveyed to aboriginal children that the human values, the political institutions, the spiritual
practices and the economic strategies of other Canadians were infinitely superior to the "primitive" ways of
their traditional lifestyles. " Students began to believe that the ceremonies and rituals which harmonized the
spiritual and social life of the community and gave its members a sense of personal significance and group
identity, were "heathen" and "the work of the Devil.




http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?index=6&did=418299341&SrchMode=1&sid=4&Fmt=3&VInst=PROD&VTy
                                             Telling secrets:
pe=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1194298281&clientId=18854                      =
sex, power and narratives in indian residential school histories
Million, Dian. Canadian Woman Studies. Downsview: Summer 2000. Vol. 20, Iss. 2; pg. 92


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=3&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1194298281&clientId=
18854
= Factors and themes in native education and school boards/First
Nations tuition negotiations and tuition agreement schooling

				
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