Residential Schools for Aboriginal People in Canada: How Kids Were Treated

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Residential schools were started by Canadian Government they make it recognized with the name of civilization but they failed to perform their duties in a better way as Catholic churches who used to run the schools, gave unfavorable life conditions to aboriginal children. However aboriginal people were forced to send their children to residential schools for education. In these schools, the children were becoming victim of emotional, physical, sexual and spiritual abuse. The main objective of the residential school system was to detach children from their homes, families traditions and cultures as they make them isolate, hence they would assimilate them into the dominant culture. With Truth and Reconciliation commission, some people gave appreciation to residential school system because they learned new skills for their better future from there and got golden chances and accomplishments in their life. Additionally other people said that, there is no doubt they get better education but in a painful and harsh ways. Both the survivor and article on residential school delineates the similarity of aboriginal children on the basis of better education, on the flip side, they were distinct in aspects of school activities, and life after the residential school.

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The fact that residential schools had one of the painful history hidden in the history of Canada that could not be neglected. Nevertheless both the Lucille Mattess, the survivor of Lejac residential school and the website ‘They came for the Children” reflects some of the similarities between residential school system is that they get better education from the residential schools. The woman describes in her experience of residential schools that she taught to do more hard work and enhancement of the reading and writing skills. She considered it a good thing about residential school because she got lesson from residential schools that she needed to work hard to accomplish her achievements. (Lucille) .So, she worked hard throughout her life period. Moreover, Stan Mckay, one of the student of Brandon residential school, due to his hard work and better educational level he became the first aboriginal moderator of the United church of Canada in 1992 (Stan Mckay, pg. 48).

Furthermore, Lucille Mattess and the website “They came for the children” reveals about the discipline of residential schools. They had to wake up early in the morning and got dressed for the schools, and after returning back from the schools they had to perform the different duties like housekeeping, cooking, carpentry and farming. Although, they were studying together with their siblings but they were not allowed to meet each other. The younger and older siblings were tried to meet each other but they never knew what was happening in the life of each other because they all were busy in doing their own activities. As a result, the lack of communication between aboriginal children result in less emotional bonding between each other.

However, the experiences of residential schools children were different due to their education in different residential schools. For an instance, In Lejac residential school, the students were not allowed to do the recreational activities like, taking part in sports, dancing, and playing games. They were only allowed to do the household work which makes them feel aggressive. On the other hand, the children of Kamloop residential school were allowed to take part in sports.

Consequently, these situation facilitated them to travel and games allowed students to leave school and they were able to get a chance to see the other parts of the world. One of the student of St-Marc-de-figuery school in Quebec said that, “at the residential school if it was not for hockey. I would have gone crazy.”( Alex,pg. 47). It shows that leisure activities at residential school helped children to come out from their daily routines and makes them feel delightful even when they were miserable. Furthermore, the woman said that nobody was in residential schools to nurture them. To shed a light upon it if they were crying nobody ever came and ask them what happened. So it in not wrong to say that they were living a life of loneliness at lejuc residential school. In contrast, the website “They came for the Children’’ stated the reversible story to it. It elucidates that the students said that they learned to get along and talk with different people which was an indispensable trait for them. Their nuns were like their relatives for them, they shared their feelings with each other. They always see their family in their teachers and respect them. Sometimes, strong personal relationships were developed among students and staffs, “Eleanor Brass’s parents Fred and Marybelle Dieter, were married at the File Hills boarding school and the principal of the school made all the arrangements for their wedding.’’(Bernard, pg. 47). In oppose to it, there was a woman suffered from a sexual abuse at lejuc residential school. From another point. jack remained in a residential school system until 1960, once he ran away from residential school and he told her Grandmother that I do not want to go back to the school because he was sexually abused by a different men on a staff, he “forced him to have oral sex and anal sex, which was the shock of a life time.” ( Jack) but it was not mentioned in the website ‘They came for the children” may be it was done only in some of the residential schools.

The another difference is in their life after the residential schools. The woman experienced a lot of problems in her life after the completion of her school. She started to behave in a very aggressive manner with her children because she got this anger from the residential school while she was studying and faced humiliation. Not only this, she was suffered from anxiety attack, depression and fears from little things. It took a long time for her to get rid out from all these things and to initiate a normal life with her family. However, experiences of some children were different at residential schools, they said in Truth and Reconciliation Commission that they developed a self Confidence in them after completing their education from residential school. They said that their career became more bright after attending residential school. For an illustration, “Ahab spence’s became Anglican archdeacon, an employee of the both the Saskatchewan and federal Governments and in 1974, the president of Manitoba Indian Brotherhood.” (Ahab,pg. 48). Many people learned new skills like leadership which helped them to become a good leaders. A study done by Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson, the residential school experience: Syndrome or historical trauma takes a random sample of 127 survivors found that 50% Criminal records, 65% diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorders, 21% major depression and 7% borderline personality disorder. ( Bailey ppt4).

In conclusion, there is no doubt that the children faced a horrible life of residential schools as they were sexually abused, isolated, and their life after attending residential schools was horrible too but, this thing was not true for each and every residential school. The system of some residential schools was different, all schools did not treat children like animals. However, to heal the wounds of people those who suffered from the residential schools, the Canadian Government need to spread the dark history of residential school to everywhere, so people can know the past of Canada and understand their background. Also, people can feel what others suffered in the residential schools when they were sleeping in their homes. The only thing that everybody can do now is that they need to support aboriginal people as much as they can by giving them a chance to speak their own languages and let them follow their own culture and tradition.

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