In research for my final paper I came across a section of the CBC website called Stolen Children: Truth and Reconciliation. Essentially this site is exactly what it sounds like, a site that documents basic information about Residential schools, ongoing news related to Residential schools and efforts for reconciliation between Aboriginal groups and Aboriginal peoples. There are not a lot of external links but most of the links within the site direct the viewer to various news articles and video clips. This site is a good but brief intro to the history of Residential schools in Canada and ongoing efforts for reconcile.
This book recounts the residential schooling experience held by those who attended the school in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. It discusses not only the experiences, but how such experiences have shaped the Mi’Kmaq culture in present day. It is an important piece of information for any Nova Scotian for it outlines the trials and tribulations of an entire people. In addition, it also has connections to the role of present day Aboriginal youth as noted in both the Fraser River Project and March Point Trailer as an explanation of the current state of youth.
Knockwood, Isabelle . Out of the depths: The Experiences of Mi’kmaw Childrn at the Indian Residential School at Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing, 2001. Print.
In Aboriginal Education- Past and Present, a TVO production, facilitated by Cheryl Jackson, in the Fort William Community Center in Thunder Bay, Dolores Wawia, a Professor at Lakehead Univeristy, Goyce Kakegamic, educator and former chief, and Michelle Derosier, social worker and filmmaker offer their perspectives of the past and future of Aboriginal Education. They discuss the experiences that they’ve had with residential schools, that include racism, oppression and abuse and how even though today’s students may have not gone to residential schools they still deal with the trauma that the experience has had on their families and their communities. They discuss ways of gaining more control over curriculum and teaching to ensure the Aboriginal students can more successful. Educators need to be more culturally sensitive and having First Nations teachers in positions to teach Aboriginal students and aboriginal studies, will promote that. Educators need to provide opportunities for Aboriginal students to see themselves as capable students. That requires a system that responds to and respects their needs and their culture. For example, Ms. Wawia talks about the importance of extended families and a culture of non-interference, that may not be understood by non-aboriginal educators. When considering what is the might be useful for young children in my school district, these cultural differences and the essential role that is played by families and community is critical. It’s also essential to realize that the residential school legacy is still with us and will be for a long time to come.
CBC has a fantastic archives site called CBC Digital Archives. This site has something for everyone and contains both television and radio archives going back many years. It is interesting to note that two of the three most popular clips are about aboriginal issues: the Oka stand-off in 1990 (with a rather young looking Peter Mansbridge) and piece on survivors of the Residential school system from 1991. The third most popular video is Justin Trudeau’s eulogy for his father in 2000.
I did a bit of exploring in the archives under Society and Native Issues and focused on the history of the residential School system. It is interesting to see how Canadian Societal views about the Native residential school system changed over time as expressed through the CBC media. The earliest clip called “A New Future” is from 1955 and presents a wonderful and cheery perspective of residential schools as a feature to salute “Education Week”. It is definitely biased as the well dressed, cheery, anglicized Indians never stopped smiling – a must to see to understand how residential schools were justified and understood at the time.
Fast forward to 1969 for the video Government takes over schools to see when the federal government took over the residential schools from the churches. This clip also shows a huge change in attitude and understanding of the residential school. This clip and the 1970 the clip “Losing Native Languages” shows recognition that isolating aboriginals from their culture was not such a good idea after all. The cover picture for this radio broadcast is from the 1955 “A New Future” video from 1955. The videos then progress towards the present as the abuses of the aboriginal students were recognized: Native Leader charges church with abuse (1990) to the official apology’s from the Canadian Government including: We are deeply Sorry (1998) and A long-awaited Apology (2008). There is also an interesting clip from 1974 showing a day in the life of the Indian Affairs Minister: Jean Chretien (former Prime Minister of Canada)
This is a great site to find out about Canadian Aboriginal issues both past and present.
I’d like to share a site I found while searching online that is to the Indian Residential School Survivor’s Society. While the link to module two may not be immediately apparent, I think that our discussion of how indigenous people need to control their own image can be tied closely to another desire; and that is to culturally rehabilitate from an egregious past. A confident and real perception of one’s self is of paramount importance when attempting to represent yourself and your story to outsiders. The Indian Residential School Survivor’s Society website is aimed at providing a support network for those who attended or are related to someone who attended a residential school. The site provides a brief history as well as some personal accounts of abused suffered by their caregivers and teachers. Monthly newsletters are issued with stories of survival and healing. This website also provides information for those wishing to seek legal advice for compensation. Most importantly, the site offers hope for those who have suffered a great ordeal and injustice by providing a support network for survivors.