There is a dirty little secret in Canada’s history, one that they don’t teach you about in school, a secret shame that they keep hidden away from the history books but that hundreds of thousands of Aboriginal families will never forget: Residential Schools. For a good 100 YRS, from the 1860’s to the 1960’s Native children from the age of 5 and up were seized from their families against their parents’ wishes and placed by order of the gov’t into church-run residential schools for YRS where they were systematically and regularly abused, molested, neglected, and mistreated. The gov’t provided the funds and the buildings and the churches provided the education and the teachers.
The idea behind it was a racist one: to strip the Indians and Inuit of their cultural heritage, language, culture,and identity. They were to force the Natives to “become English” and adapt a more “European” culture and lifestyle from when they were young, and they were indoctrinated and stripped of their own culture,integrated into “English” society and stripped of their own culture, and even punished for speaking their own language. They were also physically and sexually abused and over 6000 children died from neglect, mistreatment, disease, and lack of proper medical care. Corporal punishment was also the norm and the children and their families suffered greatly.
It was cultural genocide.
Just only recently has the gov’t admitted to and apologized for all those YRS of injustice,cruelty,and injustice inflicted upon some 150 000 Native children and their families yet nothing can really ever be said or done to make up for the nightmare they endured. Nothing can take away the pain, the memories, the hurt, the suffering,the trauma, or the emotional scars.A mere apology seems kind of empty in comparison. I mean, what can ever be said or done that could ever “undo” what’s been done?