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Final Paper: The Residential School PeriodNATV 1220 D01
As a nation, Canada is viewed by its peers as being accepting and advocating for equality among its citizen’s. However, this has not always been the case. The Indian Residential School System (IRS) in Canada represents some of the Nations darkest moments. The Indian Residential School system has caused long lasting intergenerationaltrauma on those that were affected by these tragic events. In addition, the IRS is often described as one of the most detrimental things to have had happen to the Aboriginal community. The following paragraphs will discuss the IRS as a whole, the effect it has had on the Aboriginal community, and the attempts of reconciliation by the Canadian government. Residential Schools were created by the Canadian government’s policy that attempted to assimilate Aboriginal children by forcibly removing them from their home and community to go to these school’s that stripped them of their Indigenous heritage. In partnership with the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, and United Churches the government sought to “kill the Indian in the child” by forbidding children to speak their native language and observe any of their cultural practices, values, or beliefs (Laing, 2013). Nearly 150,00 Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their homes to attend Residential Schools. In addition to being forced to attend these schools, many of the children also suffered mental, physical, and sexual abuse. The schools were often characterized by violence, as well as, dehumanizing living conditions. There were 139 Residential School in Canada, most of them closing their doors in the late 1970’s, the last one closing in the late 90’s (Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, 2016).Typically families would receive a letter indicating their child had to attend one of these schools. After the letter was received a priest would show up with an Indian agent
and forcibly remove the child from their families. If students were not surrendered to the official’s, parents were threatened with jail time. In addition, parents often fled reserves tohide in the woods in order to prevent their children from attending these schools. Daily routines were highly structured: early mornings, prayers, morning “mush”, chores, a few hours of school, more chores, more prayers, unappetizing suppers, homework, prayers, and bed (Burnett & Read, 2016, p.247). This rigid strict schedule shows the unjust choreschildren were subjected to at a very young age and education was obviously not the priority. The children were also forced to wear a specific uniform that often did not fit or provide enough coverage for winter months. Also, upon arrival children were forced to