Category Archives: Aboriginal Narrative

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‘Scapegoating the Residential Schools – 3’

‘Scapegoating the Residential Schools’
{Part 3 of 4}:

“If you look at it historically, the priests were very well-travelled and intelligent. They realized that the natives’ food supply was diminishing, and they realized that the schools were one way the natives would learn the new tools they needed to survive — and a lot of those kids did learn.”

“My own mother attended the residential school in Lebret from 1909 to 1916 in Saskatchewan, and she loved it. The nuns taught her everything; how to sew, cook, read and write. How would she have learned, otherwise? Certainly, the European style of discipline was different than native culture, but what could you do? If you let the children leave, a lot of them would have starved. You needed discipline.”

ERBLScapegoatingTheResidentialSchools800x800-3“There was a growing desire among ‘Indian’ people to control their children’s education directly. In 1971, the federal government handed control of the ‘Blue Quills Residential School’ near St. Paul, Alta., to local bands, making it the first federal Indian school to be run by natives. The process of turning over the schools, both residential and day facilities, to local bands accelerated during the 1970’s and 1980’s.

“By 1993, there were only seven residential schools left in Canada and these were administered solely by native bands.

“By the late 1980’s, many natives, especially politicians, were pointing accusing fingers at the residential schools. Highly-publicized incidents of sexual abuse, coupled with white liberal guilt about ‘cultural assimilation’, transformed the old residential schools into symbols of “degradation” and “cultural genocide”, where the native children were systematically stripped of their culture, forced to adopt non-native ways, and undergo physical torture and sexual abuse by the school staff. Continue reading ‘Scapegoating the Residential Schools – 3’

‘Scapegoating the Residential Schools – 2’

‘Scapegoating the Residential Schools’
{Part 2 of 4}:

“In Canada, reports of abuse under the residential school system — run primarily by Christian religious — have been so frequently and energetically reported in the press that abuse and victimization have come to characterize the entire legacy of the residential schools.”

“While the horror of what occurred all too often needs to be brought out, such a one-sided and simplistic characterization constitutes a distortion of the truth and an injustice to the many — AND THERE WERE MANY — who served the native people in good faith and with much love.

ERBLScapegoatingTheResidentialSchools800x800-2“Painting all residential schools as dysfunctional places of abuse and making them a collective scapegoat for the social problems which continue to plague the native people of Canada will not solve these problems, nor does it do justice to the many who worked tirelessly for the betterment of native children”.  Continue reading ‘Scapegoating the Residential Schools – 2’

‘Scapegoating the Residential Schools – 1’

ERBLScapegoatingTheResidentialSchools800x800-1‘Scapegoating the Residential Schools’

{Part 1 of 4}:

“I was never lonely there. When I went home on holidays, I was always lonesome for the school. The staff was very supportive of the students, and there were always lots of activities organized. Besides sports, there was choir, piano, even a first-aid course. I even remember the staff reading stories to the younger children.”

“In the week following the Chretien government’s apology to natives for residential schools,

{‘Apology #1’, January, 1998: https://www.itk.ca/historical-event/statement-reconciliation }
news media characterized the historic institutions as “brutal”, “miserable”, “genocidal” and “horrendous”.

“They were repeating vaguely recounted and unchallenged testimony to a royal commission, which concluded that the poorly-funded and allegedly-abusive schools bear large responsibility for the woeful present plight of many Indians.

“In none of the media coverage was the possibility raised that the schools were on the whole beneficial, and widely supported by the Indians who attended them and those who voluntarily sent their children to them. Nor was the possibility admitted that the Indian leaders who now revile the schools might be motivated by the prospect of federal compensation. Continue reading ‘Scapegoating the Residential Schools – 1’