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Canada: Dark Side of Education History

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Canada must recognize the dark side of its history. Canada is responsible for the basic genocide of an entire culture. In the early 19th century, the federal government began pushing the european way of life on the aboriginal people of Canada. Canada established the Residential School System as an attempt to help aboriginals make the transition from the traditional lifestyle they lived for thousands of years to a more alternative, different way of life, with a more European influence. The residential schools were a complete immersion program, where children were prohibited from speaking their native language, practicing their spirituality, or displaying any form of aboriginal tradition.  Aboriginal children were taken hundreds of miles from their families, only to rarely see them if they were lucky.

The goal was to turn these children into english speaking, christian farmers. Those who did not obey were often punished severely. Physical and sexual abuse ran rampant in these schools, while mortality rates soared in this environment. An incredibly large amount of native kids were thrown into the harsh, unfamiliar system against their will or the wishes of their parents and were forced to endure substandard conditions and endured physical and emotional abuse. The last residential school was only closed in 1996, twelve years after the Canadian constitution and the Charter of Rights had been changed to accommodate the various different races that lived in Canada. Although the intention was to integrate the Native Canadian population into the European-Canadian society, under the assumption they were unable to adapt to a rapidly modernizing society, the whole process was far from positive for those families as thousands were separated from their families and communities due to a policy issued by the Canadian government. Canadian citizen may wish to remember their history and be proud, but events such as the residential school system prove that, though Canada has various achievements both in the country and out, it had failed its own citizens by not tolerating any native culture and ignoring the rights and freedoms they had issued in order to prevent such horrors.

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