“Starting with the youngest members of our society, Alberta commits to residential school survivors…”
While I was browsing through the large stock piles of articles on the internet, I came across an article concerning aboriginal/first nation education in Alberta; they’re making it mandatory to teach students about residential schools. If you want to read the article click here.
Why should I read or learn about this issue?
Before I get into the middle of the topic I want to point out that where everywhere you go, there’s going to be stereotypes. I’ve even had my fair share of stereotyping and labelling when it came to my own social and cultural identity. My point is that here in North America, there’s a prominent stereotype that involved aboriginals (Native Americans if you’re accustomed to American culture) and that its connection to residential schools is very strong even in our time.
Back in the olden days, where cultural differences caused a huge line of who or what you are, lies the evident truth that the Canadian government tried to erase the culture of the first nations by initiating these “residential schools” to transform the children who are aboriginal into the majority society. We call this “forced assimilation” into the cultural image of what the government sees.
Children of native ancestry were snatched away from their family and put into these residential schools where they suffered painful hardships and trials for the years to come. They were forced to not use their native language with he exception of English & French. They’ve done this to destroy the native culture because, they thought that the aboriginals were inferior. They also forced them into Christianity or Catholicism. All the while the children were abused, neglected and received no love or care by the people who ran the residential schools. This all was just a propaganda to destroy the native culture. Here below I found a picture found on Historical Origins, and it depicts what the residential schools have done to the children in order to ‘kill the indian inside them’ (Diary of a part-time Indian).
The before and after photo looks rather shocking isn’t it? Just looking at this illustrated the torture and hardship that these kids had to go through just because they were aboriginal.
Now that you’ve got the sense of what the aboriginal people went through, it’s time to answer that question. The reason why you should care about this issue is because, many of us had those thoughts that aboriginals are lazy, they’re drunks, drug-addicts, poor, etc. But have you ever wondered why many of these come up into mind and how they started?
Here’s the low down on why. After the residential schools had left their mark on the children, the children grew up without the essential needs to be parents such as love, generosity, things like that. Due to this, when they decided to have kids they couldn’t give the same emotional love and support that many of us received with out parents. This is one of the most damaging evidence that we have on the residential schools. In turn, those neglected students picked up their parents habits and repeated them again and again. This is called intergenerational damage. This began after the residential schools were closed and the stereotypes flourished.
That’s why it’s important to remember but not forget the tragedy of this event and that we do not let it happen again. It could have been anyone, I should say the least, maybe Asians would’ve been forced into these schools (Japanese people were stuck in interment camps during World War 2) or maybe the Latinos/Hispanics. Neither the less, it’s crime against the people truly is devastating and we all should work together to prevent this from ever happening again.
Salutes to the province of Alberta
Taking Alberta’s example is one of the first but many steps to making and fixing the wound of the past to prevent the present one from continuing. So kudos to the schools in Alberta for making this happen and being a role model to ending stereotypes and promoting learning of the aboriginal education.