Skeletons in the Closet for Canada
The Indian Residential School System
Essay By Holly Graham
Student # 2404291
For Arthur Renwick
The Story of Us: Aboriginal Peoples of the Americas
Course Code: ABVC 2B01
There is a common saying that everyone has skeletons in their closet and deep dark secrets that they do not wish to be shared. The truth is that this is no exception of our country Canada. Beginning in the late eighteenth century, Canadian government felt responsible to educate the aboriginal peoples and thus created the Indian Residential Schools. In the beginning, the government thought that they were doing what was best for the aboriginal children, however many things went wrong in the system and it eventually failed. Overall, the Canadian government made a very big mistake leaving permanent scars with the survivors of the Indian Residential Schools as well as the reputation of our beloved country Canada.
When European culture arrived centuries ago at what we know today as North America, the discovery of aboriginal peoples was made. The aboriginals were looked at by the Europeans as savage and uncivilized people because the culture and traditions were so different from their own. Taken right from the bible, Jesus’ advice to his followers was to “go forth and make disciples of all nations… teaching them to observe all that I have taught you.” The Canadian government felt that they needed to educate the aboriginal children so that when they grew older they would be able to blend in with the European ways and thus have only one way of life in which to live. Egerton Ryerson, the man who created the current Ontario school system, and also the man whom which Ryerson University was named after, conducted a study in 1849 of the education system used by the aboriginal peoples for their children. Once Ryerson completed his study he reported back to the Assistant Superintendent General of Indian...