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 children. Aboriginal children as young as six left the world of their families and were sent into the unfamiliar world of the white man.
We Were Children: Reactions from Residential School Survivors and Other Viewers - NFB Blog
Children were usually rounded up in August and transported to residental schools. They were issued clothes and assigned a bed number. Even though many of the children could not speak any English, the supervisors spoke only English to them. The children were, in fact, punished for speaking their native languages. For as long as a year, and occasionally for several years, children were unable to express to anyone in authority what their basic needs were.
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Loneliness, sickness, confusion and abuse all had to be borne in lonely silence. Many things combined to make the experi Continue reading this essay Continue reading. Toggle navigation MegaEssays. Saved Essays.
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Mobilize! NFB Puts Truth & Reconciliation Onscreen
This was true both in terms of academic subjects and vocational training. Students had to cope with teachers who were usually ill-prepared, and curricula and materials derived from and reflecting an alien culture. In the workplace, the overseers were often harsh, and the supposed training purpose of the work was limited or absent.
Moreover, the attempted assimilation of Indigenous students left them disoriented and insecure, with the feeling that they belonged to neither Indigenous nor settler society. John Tootoosis, who attended the Delmas boarding school also known as the Thunderchild school in Saskatchewan, was blunt in his assessment of the residential school system:. There he is, hanging in the middle of two cultures and he is not a whiteman and he is not an Indian.
They washed away practically everything from our minds, all the things an Indian needed to help himself, to think the way a human person should in order to survive. Many students suffered abuse at residential schools. While some staff tried to be good instructors and parental surrogates, the institutional setting and the volume of work defeated even the best of intentions.
In some cases, children were heavily beaten, chained or confined. When allegations of sexual abuse were brought forward — by students, parents or staff — the response by government and church officials was, at best, inadequate. The police were seldom contacted, and, even if government or church officials decided that the complaint had merit, the response was often simply to fire the perpetrator. At other times, they allowed the abuser to keep teaching. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission TRC , at least 3, Indigenous children died in the overcrowded residential schools.
Due to poor record-keeping by the churches and federal government, it is unlikely that we will ever know the total loss of life at residential schools. Food was low in quantity and poor in quality, in large part due to concerns about cost. Moreover, research by food historian Ian Mosby published in revealed that students at some residential schools in the s and s were subjected to nutritional experiments without their consent or the consent of their parents.
Overall, the experiments do not seem to have resulted in any long-term benefits. Nutritional deficiencies and overcrowding led to regular outbreaks of diseases at the schools. Tuberculosis and influenza were the major killers, but students were also affected by outbreaks of smallpox , measles, typhoid, diphtheria, pneumonia and whooping cough. In the winter of —27, for example, 13 children died from a combination of measles and whooping cough at the Lytton school.
We were always taken to see the girls who had died. The Sisters invariably had them dressed in light blue and they always looked so peaceful and angelic.
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We were led to believe that their souls had gone to heaven, and this would somehow lessen the grief and sadness we felt in the loss of one of our little schoolmates. There would be a Requiem Mass in the chapel. We would all escort the body, which was lying in a simple handmade coffin, to the graveyard which was located close to the R. Although medical experts such as Dr. Peter Bryce, Dr. James Lafferty, Dr. Grain and Dr. Stone recommended measures to improve health and medical treatment, these were not implemented by the government, largely due to concerns about cost and opposition by the churches.
The schools could have helped children to reduce their vulnerability to tuberculosis by providing them with sanitary, well-ventilated living quarters, an adequate diet, warm clothing, and sufficient rest.
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Rather, the residential schools regularly failed to provide the healthy living conditions, nutritious food, sufficient clothing, and physical regime that would prevent students from getting sick in the first place, and would allow those who were infected a fighting chance at recovery. Indigenous students and parents resisted and protested the harsh regime in place at most residential schools.
Aboriginal Abuse In The Canadian Indian Residential School Social Work Essay
Some children refused to co-operate and sabotaged the operations of the kitchen or classroom, stole food and supplies, or ran away as did Chanie Wenjack in At least 25 fires were set by students as a form of protest. Their parents and political leaders protested the schools' harsh conditions and pedagogical shortcomings, though their objections were mostly ignored.
Some Indigenous communities also resisted closure of the schools, arguing either that denominational schools should remain open or that the schools should be transferred to their own control. By , most schools had either been closed or turned over to local bands. Beginning in the late s, former students demanded that government and churches publicly acknowledge their role in the schools and provide compensation for their suffering. On 11 June , Prime Minister Stephen Harper , on behalf of the Government of Canada, offered an apology to all former students of residential schools in Canada.
The apology openly recognized that the assimilation policy on which the schools were established was "wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country.
6,000 Kids Died in Residential Schools:
Since Canada did not establish or operate residential schools in that province Newfoundland was not part of Canada at the time the schools began operating , the federal government argued that it was not responsible for compensating former students. On 24 November , Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formally apologized to survivors of residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The ceremony was the culmination of years of archival research of government and church records dealing with Indigenous children in 80 schools across the country, with records going back as far as the s. According to archivists, another children who died in residential schools remain unnamed, and researchers continue to pore over records to discover their identities.
The names and schools of the children were displayed on a huge metre long, blood-red cloth banner. Tia-o-qui-aht First Nation Elder Dr.
John S. Basil H. Johnston , Indian School Days From Historica Canada. Also, check this site for details of related issues. From the Assembly of First Nations. Par Historica Canada. From Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. Search The Canadian Encyclopedia. Remember me. I forgot my password.
Why sign up? Create Account. Accessed 20 October In The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Article published October 10, ; Last Edited October 10,