Canadian Aboriginal Residential Schools - Essay Example

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This research paper “Canadian Aboriginal Residential Schools” will explore the impact of residential schools on the current generation of aboriginal Indians in terms of education, income, job opportunities, health services, and child care facilities…
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Canadian Aboriginal Residential Schools
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The Effect of Canadian Aboriginal Residential Schools on Modern Generation of Aboriginals Today the Canadian school system is characterized by a standard curriculum set by the provinces. All Canadians regardless of their lineage attend the same schools without any racial segregation and study under a uniform education system. However, things were not the same back in the 19th century when residential schools existed. Residential schools were federally run schools for aboriginal Indians funded by the Canadian government. During the time, the Canadian government began a system of residential schools for educating the aboriginal Indians of Canada in order to civilize them. The effort was part of the aggressive assimilation policy for the integration of Indians with the modern mainstream society. The attempt was meant to strip the Indians of their native culture and to prepare them for a successful entry into the modern world. Since children were more flexible, they adapted more successfully. The purpose of introducing residential schools was mainly to teach English and adapt children to the mainstream society through language and religion adoption in hopes that these would be passed on to future generations. The impact of residential schools was so great that its aftermaths still linger among the present generation of former residential school students.
While the effort might have been successful in mitigating native cultural attachment, it has been found out that many residential school students were subjected to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Brasfield (2001) claims that many former residential school students experience a similar form of condition as post-traumatic stress disorder, which he calls residential school syndrome. The Canadian government has set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that aims at compensating for any abuse they have gone through. However, a greater concern is the implication of residential schools on the current generation of aboriginal Indians whose parents or grandparents have been former residential school students. This paper will explore the impact of residential schools on the current generation of aboriginal Indians in terms of education, income, job opportunities, health services, and child care facilities.
Beaulne-Stuebing (2013) cites the findings of a report produced by the Canadian Human rights Commission which points out that there still exists a great well-being divide between aboriginal natives and the non-aboriginals of Canada. The statistical figures take a look at Metis and Inuit Indians and demonstrate marked inequalities between native aboriginals and non-aboriginals. In fact, the social inequality between the two groups is the most significant artifact of colonialism with aboriginals being one of the poorest ethnic groups of Canada (Wilson and MacDonald, 2010). The report produced under the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives showed that on average, the aboriginals earned an income 30% less than their other Canadian counterparts. Although the income disparity sometimes reduces on and off throughout the years, it still remains a markedly disturbing reality.
Apart from income disparity, it is also known that aboriginal children receive far less funding then other Canadians. These children undoubtedly are the next generation of the residential school generation, which means that the current generation faces severe inequality in all spheres including health services, child welfare, income, job opportunities, education, and funding. Lack of equal opportunity also implies that aboriginals are more likely to be unemployed which inevitably implies that they are more likely to receive social assistance.
Therefore, social injustice exists in the current generation of native Indian former residential school attendants. These inequalities are more pronounced in employment, income, health service, child welfare, funding and education.
Beaulne-Stuebing, L. (2013). Report highlights inequalities between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians. iPolitics. Retrieved 20 July 2014, from
Brasfield, C. (2001). Residential school syndrome. BC Medical Journal, 43(2), 78-81.
Wilson, D., & MacDonald, D. (2010). The Income Gap Between Aboriginal Peoples and The Rest of Canada (1st ed.). Ottawa, ON: Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives. Read More
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