The Genocide of the Native Culture
The thinking of a dominant white society and the savageness of Native culture is the background of the on-going struggle against cultural genocide of First Nations people all across Canada. The first European settlers in Canada viewed the inhabiting First Nations people as uncivilized, and they felt that they needed to be educated in their “civilized” ways. This thinking started the cultural genocide of the Native culture. This paper will focus on the ways in which Native people have been pushed towards the dominating Euro-Canadian ways through the 60s scoop, residential schools, reproduction rights for Native women, and the Indian Act. The 60s scoop is the adoption of First Nation and Metis children in Canada between the 1960s and the mid 1980s (Sinclair, 2011). This phenomenon is named so because the highest numbers of adoptions took place in the 1960s and because, in many instances, children were scooped from their homes without the knowledge or consent of the families and bands (Sinclair, 2011). When consent was not given, government authorities and social workers acted under the assumption that native people were culturally inferior and unable to adequately provide for the needs of the children (Kimelman, 1985). One of the main reasons that were used for the removal of the native children was alcohol abuse. Many First Nations people believed that the forced removal of the children was a deliberate act of cultural genocide (Kimelman, 1985). Statistics from the Department of Indian Affairs reveal a total of 11,132 status Indian children adopted between the years of 1960 and 1990, although it is believed that the actual number is higher than that due to the removal of non-status Native children also (Sinclair 2011). Of these children who were adopted, approximately 70% were adopted into non-native homes (Bagley, Young, & Scully, 1993). The children who were adopted by non-native homes were then hidden from their native backgrounds, and most never find out their heritage. Many of these adopted children, who are now adults, are seeking to reunite with birth families and bands (Sinclair, 2011). A huge portion of these adopted natives face cultural and identity confusion issues as a result of being socialized and assimilated into a euro-Canadian middle-class society (Sinclair, 2011). Although there was a huge impact on the lives of many First Nations children, there are somethings that the government can do to help. One option would be to help these children find their birth parents and siblings. They could do that by creating campaigns primarily for these confused children, and have their adoptions records accessible easily and for free. Another option would be to provide compensation, like the government did for the victims of the residential schools, for the pain and confusion of identity for the victims of the 60s scoop. Finally, another huge step that could be taken would be a public apology, like for the residential schools. This could go a long way to gain the respect of the Native community. In North America, some non-native individuals carried attitudes about the “savagery” and “barbarism” of the First Nations peoples and believed that Christianity and education would produce a people more satisfactory to European customs (Carroll, 2009). The classroom was a place where children of “inferior” races would have an opportunity to observe and replicate the behaviours and attitudes of the dominant Christian majority (Carroll, 2009). With this in mind, the government created government-funded, church-run boarding schools to help assimilate Native children into Christianity. These schools ran primarily from 1867 to 1983 (Claes & Clifton, 1998) and led to the removal of close to 100,000 First Nations children from their families to ensure they were educated in “civilized ways” (James, 2008). To insure that the children were becoming “civilized”, the children were not allowed to...
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