Donald Wilson Residential School Analysis

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In 2008, Stephen Harper stood up in the House of Commons and admitted a fault that was long time denied of the Canadian Government. An apology came 128 years after the residential school system construction, along with a small financial compensation to the Canadian Aboriginal people. However, many books and scholars speculate the actual effects of the residential schools and who were the true culprits of the aboriginal peoples’ abuse. This essay will observe historians through the 13 years of expansive work done on residential schools to uncover the methodology shifts for understanding why residential schools became what they were and who was to “blame”.
J. Donald Wilson believed that residential schools moved their objective from assimilating
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Wilson concludes that the civilizing mission “aim of making Indians both useful and reasonably self-sufficient…into the White economic system.” Wilson therefore notes the missionaries in high regard, by using claim of the Aboriginals and the missionaries as seeing economic and logical cause for the movement to industrial schools.
Wilson then delves into extensive detail examining residential schools, focusing on two specific schools, Shingwauk Industrial School for boys and Wawanosh was for girls. Wilson recounts that at Shingwauk “whether teachers or tradesmen, Shingwauk graduates were not to go back to their old way of living.” While “it was expected most Wawanosh girls would enter domestic service.” However, tradesmen and domestic service are lower to middle class wages. Therefore, Wilson’s argument exposes that through the education system – the Aboriginals would live mediocre
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While Wilson saw the religious agents, Coates because emphasizes the role of the government. Like Wilson, Coates also relays that missionaries saw “schooling [as] the most hopeful branch of mission work,” But in addition goes on to focus on the resistance of the federal government to fund the schooling because that was not their main focus in the northwest of Canada. “Following the discovery of gold, the government increased the [police]… and installed a modest administration.” Coates relays that “until the Second World War, the federal government paid little attention to its northern colonies.”
However, Coates states, “the government disagreed and challenged the missionaries’ claims that even a modest educational system was necessary for the Natives of the North.” Therefore, Coates structures his argument to argue marginal support of the government to fund and support these residential schools affects the quality and outcome of the residential

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