Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Past and Recent History of Residential Schools and Reconciliation

More background:
Residential Schools and Reconciliation

By Dr. J.R. Miller
“Reconciliation” is a word that has gained great currency of late. It has been frequently used in discussions surrounding the Idle No More movement during the winter of 2012-13. But the term has a longer history in discussions in Canada concerning Native-newcomer relations. Notably, Chief Justice Antonio Lamer in the Supreme Court of Canada’s rulings in both the Van der Peet and Delgamuukw cases in 1996-97 made the point that the purpose of Section 35 of the constitution adopted in 1982 was “the reconciliation of the pre-existence of aboriginal societies with the sovereignty of the Crown.” That conception of the place of reconciliation in Canadian life is also relevant to the topic of residential schools and their legacy.

Although the history of government-First Nations relations contains many policies for which reconciliation is necessary, none is more significant than the residential schools that four Christian churches ran on behalf of the Department of Indian Affairs (DIA). In general, DIA policies from the 1880s until at least the 1960s interfered with First Nations’ culture and practices in the area of governance, land tenure, spiritual observances, and economic development. Although some of these measures had unforeseen and unintended positive effects – such, as stimulating resistance to colonialism among First Nations leaders – collectively their overall impact was decidedly negative. Their net effect was to reinforce the idea that the majority of the Canadian population did not respect or value Indigenous ways and beliefs. Residential schools similarly delivered the message that non-Natives did not think highly of their society to First Nations youths, and accompanied the denigrating view with widespread neglect, abuse, and substandard pedagogy. Historically, residential schools have been the worst of a phalanx of government policies that damaged First Nations society and created the conditions that make reconciliation a pressing national necessity in twenty-first-century Canada.

For the full article go to the link above.

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