Residential Schools. Canada’s Lingering Disgrace.


With Canada turning 150, it’s a time for reflection on the good that this country has accomplished and the achievements it has reached. A scheduled post from earlier today reflects on some of my own reflections.

It should also be time to reflect on the mistakes of the past, so the future can be made brighter for those that will follow.

This recent National Aboriginal Day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the renaming of the Langevin Block on Parliament Hill. This is a long-overdue measure to remove the name of  Hector-Louis Langevin from the area where Canada’s past, present and future are debated, and laws of the country created.

It occurred to me, how could I not have heard about the Residential Schools during my education as a youth? Why did I not even heard about this until my early twenties? Growing up in Nova Scotia, we were taught some history about Mi’kmaq First Nations. So why was this important  but sad piece of history missed from the school social studies curriculum? I certainly could not place all the blame on the educators who were following a blueprint laid down by superintendents and program developers. Did any of those teachers want to address it? Were they shot down when and if it was suggested?

The government of Canada under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a formal apology to the survivors of the Residential Schools System in June 0f 2008. It was seen as a step towards reconciliation and healing. It strikes me that the steps taken in 2008 should have gone further. Why did any administration wait so long? Why did lawsuits have to be filed en masse in order for our elected officials to start waking up to this reality?

The effects of the Residential Schools system may never be repaired. Cultural assimilation of Canada’s Aboriginal Populations planted some of the deepest seeds of systemic racism in this country. Education about this lingering disgrace needs to be implemented as soon as possible in all Canadian history classes. I’m told it has started to appear in some classrooms.

Some is not all. It should be all.








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