Aboriginal Culture and Colonialism Report

Aboriginal Culture and Colonialism Report

AboriginalCulture and Colonialism Report

AboriginalCulture and Colonialism Report

Residentialschools for Aboriginal children were first introduced in the1880s(Guindon, 2015). They were religious schools sponsored by governmentand they aimed at assimilating Aboriginal children into theEuro-Canadian culture. The last residential school came to closurein 1996 in other words they were in operation from the 1880s up tothe closing decade of the 20thcentury (Schissel &amp Wotherspoon, 2003).

Accordingto Guindon (2015), cultural imperialism refers to the imposition of aforeign viewpoint on people. Mostly it involves the creation andmaintenance of relationship that are unequal between variouscivilizations, where the most powerful civilization is favored. Theresidential schools and the forced assimilation of Aboriginalchildren linked to cultural imperialism and cultural genocide in anenormous way. This is because the children were removed from theirfamilies and culture and thereafter assimilated into the dominantCanadian culture hence, ‘killing’ or eliminating the Indian inthe children. For instance, they easily forgot their language.Linguicide would be devastating to Aboriginal people since it wouldserve as a powerful techno-military, economic, and political tooltowards disconnecting them from their lands. This would in turn opensthe door to the destruction of natural resources as well as pave theway for unfettered exploitation among Aboriginal people (Guindon,2015).

Ethnocentricismrefers to the tendency of viewing foreigners or aliens cultures orgroups from one’s own perspectives (Henderson &amp Wakeham, 2009).Undeniably, ethnocentricism is one of the chief causes of divisionamongst different religious groups, races, and ethnicities. Theattitude of the Canadian government, colonizers, missionaries, andeducators can be described as ethnocentric. The aforementionedgroups heavily discriminated against the foreign people and theywould do anything to reduce their population and punished anyone whodid not comply with their rules and laws. For instance, the Canadiangovernment imposed laws that facilitated and quickened the spread oftuberculosis and small pox among the indigenous population. In fact,in 1920 the Canadian government forced native children to attendresidential schools, any parents who failed to adhere to this wasthreatened with fines and imprisonment (Henderson et al., 2009).

Aboriginalchildren were forced to endure many institutionalized cases of abusesin the residential schools, like being forced t run a gauntlet, herethey were struck with anything that was available, sexual abuse, aswell as hard child labor (Henderson et al., 2009). There has beenlasting impact on individual survivors, their families and children,their communities and cultures. Those who survived still remember thetorture and abuses that they underwent especially, sexual abuse.Families, children, and the community at large also suffered when oneof them was taken away from them. Children were denied of parentalprotection and contact as well as cultural heritage.

Themandate and purpose of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is tolearn the truth about what transferred in the residential schools aswell as inform all Canadians on what used to happen in those schools(Henderson et al., 2009). With an intention of addressing the harmsof the residential schools the Canadian government issued a formalapology in parliament. In my opinion, the government should punishall those that were involved in perpetrating the abuses as well ascompensate all victims of the residential schools.

Survivorsof the Kuper Island residential school worked towards healing throughtheir traditional cultural practices like sweet grass ceremonies,sweet lodges, and the establishment of Aboriginal studies’departments in various universities. This has helped bring togetheryoung people where they socialize and rediscover old ways.

Accordingto Hookimaw-Witt little has changed since the residential schoolbecause the school system is still not based on their cultural valuesand traditions (Hookimaw-Witt, 1998). He insists that much need to bedone to improve education for Aboriginal children. Western educationhas really impacted negatively on Aboriginal youth since they stillfind it hard to understand the language. Additionally, it has setthem apart from their own culture. Hookimaw recommendation thatchildren be taught in the own language is of immense significantsince it will help them value their cultures.


Guindon,F. (2015). Technology, material culture and the well-being ofAboriginal peoples of Canada. Journalof Material Culture,20(1),77-97. doi:10.1177/1359183514566415

Henderson,J., &amp Wakeham, P. (2009). Colonial Reckoning, NationalReconciliation? Aboriginal Peoples and the Culture of Redress inCanada. EnglishStudies in Canada,35(1),1-26.

Hookimaw-Witt,J. 1998. “Any Changes since Residential School?” CanadianJournal of Native Education 22,no. 2:159–70.

Schissel,B. and T. Wotherspoon. 2003. TheLegacy of School for Aboriginal People.Toronto, Ont: Oxford University Press.