The Importance Of Residential Schools In Canada

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Every country has a past and within their past lies positive instances and instances that are considered regrettable. In Canada’s case, they are no exception to this occurrence. The existence of residential schools in Canada has always been regarded as one of the nation’s darkest moments in history. These ‘centres of education’ were despicable as they were founded on twisted ideologies, they functioned poorly, and left a negative legacy behind. In short, residential schools have done more harm than good. Currently many people are aware of the issues surrounding residential schools, but during the late 1800s it seemed natural to approach the first nations in this way. During this time, there was an air of superiority among the white population.…show more content…
Initially these institutions were formed to educate and ultimately assimilate the indigenous peoples, but that did not mean everyone. Through other school’s experiences, the government found that teaching the younger generation as opposed to the adults proved to be more effective. Mr. Davin mentions this in his Report on Industrial Schools, “if anything is to be done with the Indian, we must catch him very young”. Normally children are more preceptive to change, nevertheless that does not mean there was no resistance from the children or the parents. In fact, there were many cases in which their parents objected to this practice, though only few were fortunate enough to escape these ‘schools’. One of these fortunate individuals would be, J.R. Miller, as his relatives challenged the missionaries’ authority with physical means and sent them away with a message, that they would not listen to them. Physical force was not the only way to oppose the government and the schools, there were other methods such as intimidation. The most effective form of intimidation involved threatening to send their child to a different school as opposed to their current one. Unfortunately, these threats were mostly only temporarily dispelled with the school ‘claiming’ they would fix things when in reality not much was…show more content…
There were some schools described as being not “‘adequate for the purpose of Indian Education’. A smaller number were condemned as dilapidated and inadequate”. The poor construction of these buildings resulted in other drawbacks, such over crowding and eventually sickness. The over crowded schools were the perfect breeding ground for illness such as tuberculosis. To demonstrate, Indian Agent MacArthur states, “‘those children catch the disease while at school’ confined for months on end ‘in buildings whose every seam and crevice is, doubtless, burdened with Tuberculosis Baccilli’”. Certainly, these difficulties did not go unnoticed, there were several instances in which these issues could have been potentially solved had those in power listened. The government cared enough to send a medical inspector to inspect the school and give a report and the results were as follows, “the report states that 24 per cent of all the pupils which had been in the schools were known to be dead”. Thus, it is apparent that they were aware of the situation and possible measures to fix it, but still neglected the children by failing to make any changes. Some people, rightly so, associate these conditions and the Department’s behaviour with massacre, “In doing nothing to obviate the preventable causes of death, brings the Department within unpleasant nearness to the
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