Destruction Of The First Nations Culture By Indian Residential Schools

The Indian Residential Schools non merely were the cause of much agony to the First Nations people during the 18 and 19 100s, but they have besides extended this agony to all coevalss that have followed. These schools have played a big function in the loss of traditions, linguistic communication, and beliefs that First Nations people held in such high respect through humiliation, force, and isolation.

Anglican and Catholic churches managed the Indian Residential Schools from the 1870 ‘s to the early 1980 ‘s by following the legislative authorization that they were given by the Canadian Government ( Meseyton, 2005 ) . Kipling and Stout ( 2003 ) say that “ by 1930, 75 per cent of First Nations kids between the ages of 7 and 15 old ages were enrolled in one of 80 such schools across the state and in the 1940s, attending was expanded to include Inuit kids every bit good ” ( p.29 ) . There were about 150, 000 Frist Nations, Inuit, and Metis kids taken from their places and put in Indian Residential Schools ( CBC New, 2009 ) . In Nova Scotia, there was one Residential School for First Nations people, which resided in Shubenacadie. The Shubenacadie Residential School opened in 1930 and it closed its doors in June of 1967 ( Knockwood, 1992, Paul, 2006 ) .

The object of the Indian Residential Schools were used as a portion of colonialism to absorb the First Nations people by destructing their civilization, linguistic communication, individuality, history, and spiritualty ( Longboat, 1987 ; Meseyton, 2005 ) . Taking away the First Nations heritage was seen to alter whom they were and do them intermix in to Canadian Society. Battiste ( 1986 ) explains that the Indian Residential Schools were evaluated based on their “ ability to transform the Indian ” ( p. 35 ) . This transmutation came with barbarous force and no respect to the kids ‘s self-pride because they were portrayed as barbarians, pagans, heathens and wild Indians ( Knockwood, 1992 ) .

The Shubenacadie Residential School followed the Nova Scotia course of study with a few alterations in the faith class and they were besides taught to be ashamed of who they were ( Paul, 2006 ) . Paul ( 2006 ) besides says that the “ kids were taught about all the advantages of Caucasic life and all the immoralities of First Nations ‘ isolation, linguistic communication and civilization ” ( p. 283 ) . First Nations kids traveling into the residential schools were non allowed to talk their ain linguistic communication. Knockwood ( 1992 ) says, “ Talking Mi’Kmaw was non permitted in the school because it held kids back in the schoolroom in reading, articulating and composing English ” ( p. 26 ) . Taking the kids from their households and coercing them non to talk their linguistic communication was the first stairss in taking away their individuality.

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Even though the churches and Government made the First Nations people believe that they had a pick to direct their kids to school, this was non the instance. Harmonizing to Daniel Paul ( 2006 ) , because of how the Indian Act was written, the kids were considered wards of the Crown and did non hold Torahs to protect them so households could make nil. Families filled out signifiers to let their kids to go to these schools, but Paul ( 2006 ) says that it did non affair because these signifiers were merely “ window dressings ” and the Indian Agents did non necessitate the parents ‘ permission and could make whatever they wanted with the kids.

Maltreatment of the First Nations kids was normally used in the Indian Residential Schools for control and assimilation. The kids were forced to give up their individualities through whippings, menaces, and isolation. Isabelle Knockwood ( 1992 ) conducted an interview with Peter Julian, former pupil at the Shubenacadie Residential School, that said by the clip he left the school he was ashamed to talk his ain linguistic communication for the small spot that he could retrieve. Talking the Mi’Kmaw linguistic communication was non the lone thing that brought on maltreatment. Isabelle Knockwood was besides a former pupil of the Shubenacadie Residential School. She can retrieve watching a nun shingle a small miss while shouting, “ Look at me ” because the nun did non recognize that direct oculus contact between a kid and an grownup was considered chesty in the native civilization ( Knockwood, 1992, p. 50 ) . The maltreatment made the kids forget about their civilization though fright. Knockwood ( 1992 ) says we “ were forcibly disconnected from everything our parents and seniors had taught us, and everything new was learned in an ambiance of fright ” ( p. 50 ) . At times physical and sexual maltreatment was used together. The kids were being sexual abused by the nuns and priest and if they did non follow with it, they would be all in ( Knockwood, 1992 ) .

Physical and sexual maltreatment was non the lone signifiers of penalty used in the Indian Residential Schools. As stated earlier, isolation from households were besides used to absorb the First Nations kids. Children were non allowed to see their households frequently and for some they did non acquire to see their households at all because of the going distance to the school. During the Christmas interruption, the kids were forced to remain at the school alternatively of being place with their households ( Knockwood, 1992 ; Paul, 2006 ) . Even though the kids could non travel place for Christmas, they remember lovingly being able to pass it with their siblings that were at the school besides. Knockwood ( 1992 ) remembers this as the merely good thing about Christmas and says, “ we ‘d acquire our nowadayss from place and acquire to sit with our brothers and sisters ” ( p. 38 ) . However, Doug Knockwood remembers one Christmas were his male parent travelled to the school to convey Christmas gifts and the nuns refused to let the kids to hold them and made him take the gifts back place ( Knockwood, 1992 ) .

Christmas is one of the major vacations where households are near. This was a manner to unplug the bonds between the kids and the parents and take away the felicity associated with it. The kids ‘s gifts were the lone thing left that made them experience like kids. Harmonizing to Knockwood ( 1992 ) , the kids were merely allowed to play with their gifts until January 6 and so they were packed up and ne’er seen once more. Taking these gifts from the kids would be like taking them from their households once more because these gifts were the lone thing every twelvemonth that connected them to and reminded them of their households.

Many of the parents besides had trouble accepting that their kids could non come place for Christmas. These parents would compose letters or hire attorneies to acquire their kids place, but all they would have was ill-mannered letters from the school denying them ( Paul, 2006 ) . Other households stuck together as a community to seek to acquire their kids place. Paul ( 2006 ) explains briefly that the Cambridge Reserve hired a adult male to travel to the school to pick their kids up but the Principal would non allow them travel. These are illustrations of how determined the churches and Canadian Government were in absorbing the First Nations people.

The Indian Residential Schools did non supply the instruction that other Nova Scotia schools provided. The pupils were taught really basic instruction and the remainder was manual labor ( Knockwood, 1992 ) . Learning merely the basic instruction was so First States people could acquire by life in society by understanding English, but non have excessively much instruction so they obtain callings such as attorney, instructors and physicians. Making them make manual labor was in some manner ‘killing two birds with one rock ‘ . The Government could absorb them into Western Society and non hold to pay anyone to make the manual work at the school. The kids that attended these schools were non trained to make the work and most clip they were in the place to make manual work that was insecure. Knockwood ( 1992 ) describes that many of the kids got physically hurt because they were excessively little or untrained to run the machinery.

There was really small clip to make anything merriment at the school. Knockwood ( 1992 ) remembers being able to play baseball and traveling skating. For the kids that attended these schools, keeping on to the memories of these times is what helped them do it through each twenty-four hours. This was one of the times, other than Christmas, that the kids that had brothers or sisters at the school would acquire to see them even for merely a few proceedingss ( Knockwood, 1992 ) . These tactics were ways that the churches and Government thought would insulate the kids and cut bonds with other household members.

This was non the lone manner that the Indian Residential Schools managed to deprive First Nations kids of their individuality. The kids did non hold the chance to turn up and see what a normal household life would look like because they were at school for 10 months a twelvemonth with no parental contact other than letters, which were no usage, because they were written in English so the parents could non read them ( CBC News, 2009 ) . This farther goes to demo how isolation was used to take the bonds within the households so they could suit into Canadian society more expeditiously.

There were besides residential twenty-four hours schools and some kids were sent away to schools in other states so they would larn to “ reject their traditional cultural ways in favor of the life of the person in the dominant Canadian society ” ( Battiste, 1986, p. 36 ) . No affair where the First Nations kids were sent for instruction, the chief result the Canadian Government desired was assimilation of the ‘Indian ‘ . Daniel Paul attended an Indian Day School on the Indian Brook Reserve where assimilation was still in advancement ( Paul, 2006 ) Paul ( 2006 ) recalls his clip in this school and says he “ can non remember any attempt being made – except for a brief mention to basket weaving and other traditional trades – to learn us about heritage and civilization ” ( p. 291 ) . The deficiency of instruction of the First Nations heritage and civilization in the Indian twenty-four hours schools was merely another effort of the Canadian Government to absorb the First Nations people.

Assimilation of the First Nations people did non travel like the Canadian Government planned. There are still First Nations people widely spread all across Canada. Did the Indian Residential Schools affect the First Nations civilization and their individuality? Harmonizing to Kipling and Stout ( 2003 ) , the parents that grew up in Indian Residential Schools create what they call “ intergenerational ” Survivors by go throughing the injury they experienced down to their kids ( p. 51 ) . The effects of the schools non merely affected the First Nations people in them at the clip but for coevals to come. Kipling and Stout ( 2003 ) explains this to be “ like a pebble dropped in a pool, traumatic effects tend to ruffle outward signifier victims to touch all those who surround them, including kids and grandchildren ” ( p. 51 ) .

The subsisters of the Indian Residential Schools ne’er had a opportunity to go near with their households and larn what healthy relationships were. Kipling and Stout ( 2003 ) suggest that the force that the subsisters encountered at the schools was used towards their ain kids subsequently in their lives because they did non cognize how to show fondness. This is what causes a rhythm of maltreatment. Unless this rhythm is stopped, every coevals will endure the same sort of force from their parents. The maltreatment can besides stem from defeat. When kids were old plenty they returned place to their parents where they felt like they did non belong because they did non hold the accomplishments to assist their parents out and ended up going ashamed of who they were ( CBC News, 2009 ) .

Not everyone experienced the same things in the Indian Residential Schools. Some First Nations people believe they learned valuable accomplishments such as talking English, how to maintain their places in good form, stitching, cookery and praying, while others thought it was the most atrocious topographic point to be ( Knockwood, 1992 ) . Knockwood ( 1992 ) besides explains that some of the pupils thought the whippings were deserved, while some thought it was a safety from place because their parents abused them, and some pupils were the priests and nuns front-runners so they did non endure the penalties. Even though there were some First States people that seen the schools as a good topographic point to be while they were at that place, this did non halt the agony of the First Nations civilization and individuality.

The First Nations civilization and linguistic communication are threatened because “ several coevalss of kids holding grown up in a scene where any manifestation of Aboriginality was disparaged and devalued ” ( Kipling & A ; Stout, 2003, p. 34 ) . Kipling and Stout ( 2003 ) besides suggest that many subsisters are seeking to get by with both the maltreatment they suffered at the Indian Residential Schools along with the loss of their civilization. First Nations communities need to lodge together to mend if they want to convey back the civilization and linguistic communication of their ascendants. Without the instruction of traditions and linguistic communication, the First Nations individuality will be wholly gone.

Randolph Bowers considers himself a Mi’kmaq adult male that is seeking to detect his ain individuality while seeking to assist others understand themselves better by bring outing their ain individuality ( Bowers, 2008 ) . The Indian Residential School did non affect Arbors straight but he states how it affected his household indirectly by stating:

My household was non impacted by the residential school epoch straight. We were influenced indirectly. My grandma Honora Elizabeth Richard-Bowers lived during an epoch when the residential schools were enforced in Nova Scotia. For Metis households I suspect there was a changeless fright of authorities functionaries. Foster places, wards of the province, and residential schools were non far distant worlds for comparatively hapless Acadian households. Hiding their Aboriginal lineage was most likely really necessary during the late 1800s and early 1900s ( Arbors, 2008, p.37 ) .

This shows that the Frist Nations people did non hold to be forced into an Indian Residential School to be stripped of their civilization and linguistic communication. Some of the households felt giving up their individuality was better than the alternate. Arbors ( 2008 ) goes on to state, “ My experience is of being a non-status Indian turning up in a household that had about lost our connexions to Aboriginal heritage and civilization. There was ever a nothingness in my bosom, a immense portion of me that was losing ” ( p. 29 ) .

Arbors shows us that cognizing your heritage is of import in cognizing who you are. The grounds proves that the Indian Residential Schools took something from the First Nations people that was really of import to their individuality. It is of import for anyone to cognize who they are and where they came from, but for the First Nations people it is highly of import because happening their individuality though their traditions and linguistic communication aid mend the agony brought on by the Indian Residential Schools.

Healing is an of import measure in recovering the civilization and linguistic communication of the First Nations people. Knockwood ( 1992 ) explains that it is of import that the subsisters of the Indian Residential Schools talk with other subsisters to assist with the healing procedure. Moayeri and Smith ( 2010 ) conducted interviews with two First States female parents that were former pupils at the Indian Residential Schools. These adult females have lost their individuality because of the maltreatment they suffered and the isolation they endured. In these interviews, the adult females explained that they were seeking to recover their individuality back by taking some power over their lives ( Moayeri & A ; Smith, 2010 ) . Many pupils are still seeking to mend themselves in one manner or another and with the support of their First Nations communities, the procedure of mending would profit the subsister every bit good as coevalss to come.

In decision, the Indian Residential Schools along with other efforts of assimilation of the First Nations heritage, civilization, linguistic communication, and individuality have affected the First Nations people. Arbors ( 2008 ) says, “ We are Canadians, but if we do non cognize where we come from and who we are, we are nil ” ( p. 38 ) . Reconnecting with the First Nations communities and larning about their lost heritage will assist mend the agony for the future coevalss of First Nations kids. Reclaiming their individualities will do the First Nations communities stronger to contend any other signifiers of assimilation that may happen in the hereafter.

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