GENE 48 – 101
Michelle A. LaMarche
November 4, 2014
In the 19th Century, what was the punishment of the crime for being born Native?
“It is clear that the schools have been, arguably, the most damaging of the many elements of Canada’s colonization of this land’s original peoples and, as their consequences still affect the lives of Aboriginal people today, they remain so.”—John S. Milloy, A National Crime
The First Nation people have a proud and long history that combines rich culture and spiritual traditions. For a century, from the 1880s until 1980s more than 100,000 First Nations children in Canada attended residential schools. The placement of residential schools for the First Nations children has led to serious amount of damage. At the schools, they were banned to practice their beliefs, culture and speak their language. The children suffered from emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Due to these events the First Nations in Canada suffered a significant loss of their culture and traditions, and suffered a negative affect in their future.
The children were forced and taken away from their homes and families by clerics and government officials and sent away for retraining. The priests and nuns deprived them from speaking their ancestral language, and practicing their religion and culture was banned. The larger purpose of the residential schools other than education was to eliminate the culture from Canada. It was not the intent to educate the children, instead teach them tasks so they could acquire positions as maids and laborers. “The problem with the Indians is one of morality and religion,” -Reverend A. E. Caldwell. The children were removed from their cultural environment and were placed in an area where they were completely isolated and the result was transmission and elimination. The parents were not aloud to visit their children nor were the children aloud to contact home. The children