Residential schools

Topics: Canadian Indian residential school system, High school, Education Pages: 6 (1004 words) Published: April 22, 2015
Residential schools
How they were meant to rob native children of their heritage

Residential schools robbed native children of their heritage to prepare them for life in “white society”. This led to stolen childhoods and forgotten heritage. Aboriginal children were sent to schools that were called “Indian Residential Schools”. Residential schools were run by the Government of Canada and the churches (Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, United and Presbyterian). Residential schools were open from 1831 to 1996. Residential schools were present all around Canada (including Nova Scotia) Residential schooling was not optional; kids were taken from their parents without knowledge of what was going on. Since the children were removed from their families, a lot of kids grew up without love and nurture, so a lot of them didn’t have the knowledge to raise their own families. Since the government’s and the churches’ intent was to erase all aspects/memory of Aboriginal culture in these children and prevented its passing from one generation to the next, residential schools were considered to be a form of cultural genocide to a lot of people. To prove the motive of residential schooling here are two quotes: Sir John A Macdonald[prime minister of Canada (1867–73, 1878–91)], - “We have been pampering and coaxing the Indians; that we must take a new course, we must vindicate the position of the white man, we must teach the Indians what law is.” Dr. Duncan Campbell Scott (head of the Department of Indian Affairs from 1913 to 1932) - “I want to get rid of the Indian problem. I do not think as a matter of fact, that the country ought to continuously protect a class of people who are able to stand alone… Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question, and no Indian Department, that is the whole object of this Bill.” Residential Schools made Aboriginal children talk, dress, think and act like “white Canadians”. The government and churches believed that this was the only option and the right thing to do at the time. Life at residential school was a nightmare for many children. Students were forced to speak English or French, and if they spoke their own language they would be severely punished, therefore making them think it’s bad to speak their language and scaring them from speaking it. Most of the time these children were stolen from their families and put in schools far away from their communities, and it could be for years at a time. Many of these children were not given enough food or water, lived in dirty conditions and a lot died of disease.

As seen in the picture above a lot of Residential schools were over crowded .

Residential school students did not receive the same education as they would in the public school system; residential schools were also under-funded. The girls were taught to do laundry, sew, cook, and clean. Boys were taught carpentry, tinsmithing, and farming. Some of the students attended class part-time and worked for the school the rest of the time: girls would do the housekeeping and the boys would do the general maintenance and agriculture. In conclusion, they were primarily taught how to act white and taught to live by the “white” stereotypes. Since students had to do all of this work, most students had only reached grade five by the time they were 18. Abuse was a very big aspect in Residential schools. Physical, emotional and sexual abuse was present on a daily basis. If students spoke their own language or talked about their culture they would be punished making them not want to even think about their heritage (scaring the heritage out of them) Some of the punishments were students being beaten and strapped; some students were shackled to their beds; some had needles put in their tongues for speaking their native languages. On top of punishment for being who they are, children were also...

Bibliography: -"The Residential School System." The Residential School System. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 June 2014. .
-"WELCOME." Indian Residential School Resources RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 June 2014. .
-Milloy, John Sheridan. A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879 to 1986. Winnipeg: U of Manitoba, 1999. Print.
-Sellars, Bev. They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School. Vancouver: Talon, 2013. Print.
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