Residential Schools: An End of Grief
By: Senthuran Senthil
Sir Wilfrid Laurier C.I
Monday, May 13, 2013
For over a century, more than 150,000 First Nations children in Canada attended residential schools. Aboriginal children across the country were stripped from their families and communities, and they were forced to attend these schools. At residential schools, children experienced a trauma which included emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. These abuses were just some consequences for speaking their indigenous language. The mandatory attendance of First Nations children in residential schools led to a major loss of Aboriginal languages in Canada, and this loss is a major cause of cultural destruction.
In the 19th century, the Canadian government took on the responsibility for educating the country's Aboriginal children. These children learned English and were forced to adopt Christianity and customs of the predominantly white European population. This policy supported by the government is called "aggressive assimilation".
Aboriginal children would pass their adopted way of life onto their children, and Native traditions would diminish to the point at which they would disappear in the next generation. The government felt that it was easier to change the lives of children than adults and the concept of residential schools was the best way to prepare them for life in the European society. Residential schools were run under the management of the government, the Department of Indian Affairs, and run by several Christian churches. The attendance was mandatory and agents worked for the government to certify that all native children were present. The loss of many aboriginal languages is one of the most disappointing outcomes of the residential school system. An extensive effect of residential schools is the loss of indigenous languages. The reason for this loss is the abduction of Aboriginal children...