Thursday, May 28, 2015

It's Time For Reconciliation



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With the growing strength of minority voices in recent decades has come much impassioned discussion of residential schools, the institutions where attendance by Native children was compulsory as recently as the 1960s. Former students have come forward in increasing numbers to describe the psychological and physical abuse they suffered in these schools, and many view the system as an experiment in cultural genocide. In this first comprehensive history of these institutions, J.R. Miller explores the motives of all three agents in the story. He looks at the separate experiences and agendas of the government officials who authorized the schools, the missionaries who taught in them, and the students who attended them.

Starting with the foundations of residential schooling in seventeenth-century New France, Miller traces the modern version of the institution that was created in the 1880s, and, finally, describes the phasing-out of the schools in the 1960s. He looks at instruction, work and recreation, care and abuse, and the growing resistance to the system on the part of students and their families. Based on extensive interviews as well as archival research, Miller's history is particularly rich in Native accounts of the school system.
This book is an absolute first in its comprehensive treatment of this subject. J.R. Miller has written a new chapter in the history of relations between indigenous and immigrant peoples in Canada.
Co-winner of the 1996 Saskatchewan Book Award for nonfiction.
Winner of the 1996 John Wesley Dafoe Foundation competition for Distinguished Writing by Canadians
Named an 'Outstanding Book on the subject of human rights in North America' by the Gustavus Myer Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America.

When residential schools opened in the 1830s, First Nations envisioned their own teachers, ministers, and interpreters. Instead, students were regularly forced to renounce their cultures and languages and some were subjected to degradations and abuses that left severe emotional scars for generations.
In Finding My Talk, fourteen aboriginal women who attended residential schools, or were affected by them, reflect on their experiences. They describe their years in residential schools across Canada and how they overcame tremendous obstacles to become strong and independent members of aboriginal cultures and valuable members of Canadian society.

This book examines the history of the Indian Residential Schools established in Canada and the effects of the colonial education of Aboriginals on contemporary native culture. The book recounts the history of the Euro-Amerindian encounter in North America and the foundational beliefs that provided the underpinnings for the creation of the residential system. The author dedicates three chapters to the description of health, infrastructure and academic deficiencies that plagued the system, as well as the abuse of residential students and the consequent long-term damage they experienced. In closing, Grant offers a perspective on the future of political and educational efforts being made to restore and maintain native culture.

Theodore Fontaine lost his family and freedom just after his seventh birthday, when his parents were forced to leave him at an Indian residential school by order of the Roman Catholic Church and the Government of Canada. Twelve years later, he left school frozen at the emotional age of seven. He was confused, angry and conflicted, on a path of self-destruction. At age 29, he emerged from this blackness. By age 32, he had graduated from the Civil Engineering Program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and begun a journey of self-exploration and healing.
In this powerful and poignant memoir, Theodore examines the impact of his psychological, emotional and sexual abuse, the loss of his language and culture, and, most important, the loss of his family and community. He goes beyond details of the abuses of Native children to relate a unique understanding of why most residential school survivors have post-traumatic stress disorders and why succeeding generations of First Nations children suffer from this dark chapter in history.
Told as remembrances described with insights that have evolved through his healing, his story resonates with his resolve to help himself and other residential school survivors and to share his enduring belief that one can pick up the shattered pieces and use them for good.

Truth and Indignation offers the first close and critical assessment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as it is unfolding. Niezen uses interviews with survivors and oblate priests and nuns, as well as testimonies, texts, and visual materials produced by the Commission to raise important questions: What makes Canada's TRC different from others around the world? What kinds of narratives are emerging and what does that mean for reconciliation, transitional justice, and conceptions of traumatic memory? What happens to the ultimate goal of reconciliation when a large part of the testimony—that of nuns, priests, and government officials—is scarcely evident in the Commission's proceedings? Thoughtful, provocative, and uncompromising in the need to tell the "truth" as he sees it, Niezen offers an important contribution to our understanding of TRC processes in general, and the Canadian experience in particular.

Award-winning author Constance Deiter unveils the stories of women and men who attended residential schools in Saskatchewan. Using personal interviews and reflections, she exposes the intergenerational impact these schools have had on First Nations people.

Childhood Lost examines the experiences of four individuals who were sent to residential schools when they were very young. While their stories represent different generations panning over fifty years, they share a common sense of loneliness, despair and trauma. We learn how some are coping with the many years of sexual abuse and the effects it has had on their lives. Each story is intensely personal. At the close of the documentary, the individuals are brought together for a chance to share their experiences. In the talking circle they share memories of pain and humour. For each of them this is a healing journey. This is a journey that may never end.

From the preface: "Depicts an era in Canadian history when Indigenous children were taken from their parents and placed in institutions under the care of the federal government and various religious denominations. This era is of profound importance because the treatment children received has had, and continues to have, a devastating impact upon individuals, families, communities and nations. "

Between 1879 and 1986, upwards of 100,000 children in Canada were forcibly removed and placed into Indian Industrial Residential Schools. Their unique culture was stripped away to be replaced with a foreign European identity. Their family ties were cut, parents were forbidden to visit their children, and the children were prevented from returning home.
First Nations children were the only children in Canadian History, to be singled out by race and forced to live in institutions; generation after generation. 

Starting to Talk

A guide for Communities on Healing and Reconciliation from the Legacy of Indian Residential Schools.

Native Canadians are demanding the federal government act on recommendations of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Among the many recommendations is one that would redress a terrible injustice: residential schools. native Canadians want to heal the wounds inflicted by those schools, but they say that can't happen until the government apologizes for its involvement and accepts responsibility. Many Native children suffered abuse, sexual and physical, and neglect in these schools. All of them lost their past, culture and traditions when they were forced to attend these white-man schools.

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