6/04/2005

Residential Schools

Clip Clop Clip Clop. Yes that's the sound of me getting back up on my high horse riding off in the pursuit of truth honesty justice and the non-American way. This time its the hypocrisy of people who tell you that residential schools should be taken in their historical context not looked at from our modern perspective. That's like saying the concentration camps of Nazi Germany should be placed in a historical context so we can understand them better and not judge than harshly. In attempting to destroy the indigenous peoples of North America the governments of Canada and The United States both devised the system of residential schools. Using the white man's burden excuse, it is our job to uplift the savages and turn them into viable human beings, they came up with the idea of forcibly removing all school age children from their families and villages and placing them in schools far removed from their homes. Here all vestiges of their culture were stripped from them. Hair was cut off, clothing and fetishes destroyed, and their languages were forbidden. On a daily basis they were told that the beliefs of their parents were evil and subjected to classes in things they didn't understand. In the guise of teaching them trades the young girls were put to work in laundry facilities, kitchens and other domestic trades working in sweat shop conditions so as to prepare them for lives of menial servitude. The young boys were educated in similar situations. They were continually told that this is what they were worth of, life at the lower rung of white society. These schools were a deliberate attempt at cultural genocide. Knowing full well that they were dealing with societies dependent on oral instruction they could not help understanding the impact this would have on the survival of these peoples as distinct societies. The results fo this mass deportation are still being dealt with on reserves across North America. Cut off from being able to communicate with their own families, not having the skills to earn any decent money and having been at best conditioned to belief they were evil or at worst sexually abused they could not function in either the white or native world. Since the policy of residential schools and separating children from their parents only ended in the seventies the after effects will be felt for generations. The alcohol and substance abuse, the physical violence, the grinding poverty, and the dependence on government handouts for survival are all as a result of this policy. What things would be like on the reserves if the schools hadn't been in force is hard to say, but it is no stretch to believe that things would have better off without them. I find it reprehensible that any people can actually argue against compensation for any and all people who were forced to endure incarceration at one of these institutions. Residential schools are one of the many things that we as a society have to answer for when it comes to our treatment of fellow humans. That they existed is not a subject for discussion, and neither should the matter of recompence. It's time pay the piper when it comes to this issue and continue on with the settling up of all the other items on the bill. The list is long and we have a long way to go before it's done. cheers gypsyman

1 Comments:

Anonymous pia said...

We have so much to answer for it's scary.

2:05 PM  

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