- Create a reflection (either written, poetic, imagery, etc) about how you think the Residential School system has led to an intergenerational breakdown of families and communities. You may want to consider culture, identity, traditions and language as part of your reflection.
To “kill the Indian in the child” was a phrase used in many areas of Canada during the time of Residential schools. Undoubtedly having to accept the oppression and prejudice we have faced the aboriginals with has brought them a great burden. To forget such ordeals is an absurdity many of us cant let go of, we must remember the struggles that this oppression has brought.
Many children were sent back home after their education period ended, they forgot their language and no longer acquired the ability to speak to their mothers and fathers. Some never made it back home, they were killed before they could even reach their teenage or adult years. Most were physically and mentally, even sexually abused. Little had adequate food portions and clothing provided. And all were taught that their families were savages and were subject to forced assimilation.
Families suffered deep trauma from these acts and enforcements, and to this day try to build their lives back to where they so desperately deserve to be. Stereotypes have been spread about being alcoholics and addicts and although true in some cases, many try to numb the pain of the past. Being insensitive to their hurting will only continue to support the cycle of their oppression.
Traditions and mannerisms were lost because of how spread out the community had been, families torn apart and children were left without the love only a parent can provide. Aboriginal children were not able to get a chance to wear traditional head pieces and clothing because they learned that those things were wrong. They were never taught to hunt and fish which were all essential parts of living a safe life on their reserves, skills they could only acquire through teaching from the elders.
All in all, Residential schools marked a terrible time in Canadian history and its important we remember these things so past mistakes will not be repeated.