Growing up white in Southern Ontario, I never learned about Chanie Wenjack or about any of the tens of thousands of other indigenous children like him who were part of Canadaâs residential school system.
According to the
government in those days, the objective was to “kill the Indian in the child.” However
in the process of trying to rid the child of their Indian culture and ethnicity, residential
school system perpetually committed cultural genocide and the effects would be seen on
generations to come.
In 2009, the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper; offered a long awaited and
much needed apology to the Aboriginal communities within Canada.
Essay on Residential School - 1165 Words - StudyMode
Such a harsh regime naturally provoked resistance, both by Indigenous students and adults. Some children refused to co-operate and sabotaged the operations of the kitchen or classroom, stole food and supplies, ran away, or, in extreme cases, burned down their schools. Their parents and political leaders protested the schools' harsh conditions and pedagogical shortcomings, though their objections were mostly ignored. By the 1940s it was obvious to both the and most bodies that the schools were ineffective, and Indigenous protests helped to secure a change in policy. In 1969, the system was taken over by the , ending church involvement. The government decided to phase out the schools, but this met with resistance from the , which felt that segregated education was the best approach for Indigenous children. Some Indigenous communities also resisted closure of the schools, arguing either that denominational schools should remain open or that the schools should be transferred to their own control. By 1986, most schools had either been closed or turned over to local bands. Ten years later, Gordon Residential School in Punnichy, , finally closed its doors.