Canada’s national shame


Scholars and Aboriginal leaders have claimed for many years that this country committed genocide when the government tried to assimilate native people into the dominant society.

Beginning in the early 20th century, residential schools were created by religious groups – notably the Catholic, Anglican and United churches – as odious mecahanisms to carry out a government policy of assimilation. Children were taken from their homes and parents and forced to attend these schools many miles from their homes and culture. They were forbidden to speak their language and were punished if they did. Sexual and physical abuse were endemic in the schools.

The experience has since been officially apologized for by Canada and the churches. However, Canada has never allowed the experience to be classed as genocide. This national shame must be finally confronted head-on. This Globe and Mail newspaper report details an even more horrific chapter of this crime perpetrated, in our names, on Native people in Canada.

Recommended reading:
Bird, John; Land, Lorraine; Macadam, Murray. “Nation to Nation: Aboriginal Sovreignty and the Future of Canada.” Public Justice Rescource Centre: Toronto 2002.

Neu, Dean; Therrien, Richard. “Accounting for Genocide: Canada’s Bureaucratic Assault on Aboriginal People” Fernwood Publishing: Black Point, Nova Scotia. 2003

Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples 1996.

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Filed under Aboriginals in the Media, First Nations and Canada, Human Rights, Residential Schools

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