Residential Schools – The Canadian Holocaust
Thesis; the negative effects residential schools produced on an immense group of indigenous societies: stretching from the Yukon to Nova Scotia, enduring more then a century of cruelty and pain.
The Canadian residential school system was described by many as “killing the Indian in the child”. The first “school” was developed in the early 17th century by the Franciscans in New France, but the school had failed due to lack of students because attendance was not yet compulsory. These residential schools were primarily constructed on flat lands, in remote areas. This ensured a more difficult escape; the children could be seen for miles, seized ...view middle of the document...
One survivor of the Kuper Island Schools said it best when he explained, “the church people were worshipping the devil, not us. They wanted the gold, the coal, the land we occupied. So they terrorized us into giving it to them…”
Their diets had gone from eating fresh fish, wild game and nourishing berries, to practically being starved with oatmeal and even rotten food. The way they dressed, talked, and even slept and been completely altered. They were restricted from speaking their native tongues or practicing anything involving their culture. Their lives changes dramatically overnight.
Grade three was the acceptable standard of education; most students left the “schools” with barely a grade five-six average, and were discouraged from going onto a higher grade. A federal inspector cautioned Ontario Residential Schools from offering grade nine by saying, “if we let Indian people to go to grade nine, then they’ll want to go to grade 10, then to University, and that’s something we don’t want.”
Thousands of aboriginal children attended these schools, and were the only children in Canadian history forced to live in institutions primarily because of their race. They contained youth from many different aboriginal tribes all over Canada including Métis, Micmac, Maliseet and Inuit children, from ages 5-15.
The degree of their abuse was so extreme, brutal, and painful. Cruelty had no limit; even children as young as five we being physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. Staff members would impregnate young girls and enforce abortions, but that is one third of the extremities that these children suffered. Here are a few examples of the torture inflicted on those young aboriginal children;
-Tightened fish twine or wire around the little aboriginal boys genitals
-Stuck needles into their hands, cheeks, tongue, ears, and genitals for speaking their native languages;
-Immersed them in water for long periods of time
-Forced them to eat maggot-filled and regurgitated food
-Forced them to sleep outside during the winter months
-Forced them to stand upright for more than 12 hours until they collapsed
-Extracted teeth from their mouth without the use of painkillers
-Beat them until unconscious
Once the children left the schools they found themselves returning home after years of being away from families and communities. They had forgotten their...