Canada’s Residential Schools

Misguided pondering by the Canadian government at the turn of the century, believed aboriginal children could best be assimilated into society by removing them from their families,  sending them for 10 months of the year to church run residential schools. At first, just over 1000 children attended 69 schools across the country. By the time the program reached its zenith in 1931, there were over 100 schools operating in every province. Estimates put the number of children forced into this system at 150,000.

Separated by gender, forbidden to use their native language, often physically and sexually abused, they emerged broken and dysfunctional. The last school closed in 1996. On June 11, 2008 Prime Minister Steven Harper gave an official apology to victims, in a House of Commons speech. After much legal wrangling a compensation package worth almost 2 billion was agreed upon. Broken down, each victim would receive 10,000 for their first year at school, 3,000 for each additional year. Cases of sexual abuse will be dealt with separately. The churches involved have all given public apologies, and were ordered to pay 100 million towards “healing” initiatives.

CBC News: Stolen Children June 8-21, 2008

The above link and photo – CBC News

6 thoughts on “Canada’s Residential Schools

  1. Pingback: Idle No More – You Have Some Problems | notestoponder

  2. The information I found said: ‘Churches involved in the administration of residential school will contribute up to $100 million in cash and services toward healing initiatives.’ The words ‘will’, ‘up to’ and ‘services’ makes me wonder how much they will ultimately contribute.

  3. Yes, we have had it here too. Our aboriginals are called Sami. Their culture is about living with nature, having reindeers and such.
    Starting in the 18th century, we took their children from their family (as described in the post), forced them to learn another language (Swedish) and punished them if they spoke their own.
    The worst part of it is that they are still, to this day, considered to be second class citizens by some people…
    My head hurts, just to think of the amount of bigotry.

    • I didn’t know that, the term Sami is new to me – I’ll look at their story.As for living with nature, I believe that could be said for most of the aboriginal people who found themselves at the receiving end of the church.

  4. Pingback: Secret Canadian Research | notestoponder

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