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Thread: Native Canadians to recall boarding school abuse

  1. #1
    Politics.ie Member The Caped Cod's Avatar
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    Default Native Canadians to recall boarding school abuse

    I stumbled across this article and found it interesting. THere are many parellels between this an our own situation in Ireland.

    Hundreds of indigenous Canadians are to give evidence before a commission of their experiences at state-funded schools set up to enforce assimilation.

    About 150,000 children attended the Church-run boarding schools which operated up to the 1970s.

    The pupils were forced to abandon their cultural identity and many were physically and sexually abused.
    ...

    The schools, which operated from the late 19th Century, were designed to assimilate the children into European-Canadian society by removing their language, religion and culture.
    ...

    "The things that happened for generations of children, just removed from their homes. How can you say to a child, we're going to take away your parents, your sisters, your brothers your home - everything? You are going to be up for grabs for anyone who wants to do anything to you. And it was done."
    BBC News - Native Canadians to recall boarding school abuse
    The foundations of the system were the pre-confederation Gradual Civilization Act (1857) and the Gradual Enfranchisement Act (1869). These assumed the inherent superiority of British ways, and the need for Indians to become English-speakers, Christians, and farmers. At the time, Aboriginal leaders wanted these acts overturned.[5]
    Canadian Indian residential school system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Act to Encourage the Gradual Civilization of Indian Tribes in this Province, and to Amend the Laws Relating to Indians (commonly known as the Gradual Civilization Act) was a bill passed by the 5th Parliament of the Province of Canada in 1857.

    The treaty built on the "Act for the Protection of the Indians in Upper Canada" passed in 1839, but required the "enfranchisement" of any recognized male Indian over the age of 21 "able to speak, read and write either English or the French language readily and well, and is sufficiently advanced in the elementary branches of education and is of good moral character and free from debt."[1] An "enfranchised" Indian would no longer retain the "legal rights and habilities of Indians" and would "no longer be deemed an Indian" but a regular British subject.[1] Such enfranchisement was mandatory, but any male Indian could be voluntarily enfranchised despite an inability to read or write, or a lack of school education, so long as he spoke English or French, and was found to be "of sober and industrious habits, free from debt and sufficiently intelligent to be capable of managing his own affairs."[1] Voluntary enfranchisement, however, required a three year probation term before it would come into legal effect.

    Enfranchisement required that Indians choose a surname (to be approved by appointed commissioners) by which they would become legally known. The wife and descendants of an enfranchised Indian would also be enfranchised, and would no longer be considered members of the former tribe, unless they were to regain Indian status through another marriage.

    Enfranchised Indians were entitled to "a piece of land not exceeding fifty acres out of the lands reserved or set apart for the use of his tribe" as allotted by the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, and "a sum of money equal to the principal of his share of the annuities and other yearly revenues receivable by or for the use of such tribe."[1] This land and money would become their property, but by accepting it, they would "forego all claim to any further share in the lands or moneys then belonging to or reserved for the use of [their] tribe, and cease to have a voice in the proceedings thereof."[1
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gradual_Civilization_Act
    I have read some absolutley shocking accounts of what happened to Natives in these schools, stories that make Letterfrack look like Butlins (and that is not meant to understate the horror of Letterfrack, but to provide a point of comparison).
    It is encouraging to see the past wrongs done against these people brought to light and addressed.
    They experienced not just the brutality of the schools themselvs, but also the fact the that these schols were only one part of a national campaign to destroy there culture and heritage.
    The fact that Enfranchised (just goes to show double speak is nothing new) males were forced by their compulsory Enfrachised status to give up their tribal status (and any legal tribal ties to the land) reminds me of Irish penal laws that would grant the totality of inherited land to a son who converted to protestantism.
    A device to divide.
    "Authority that cannot be questioned is tyranny and I will not accept tyranny, any tyranny, even that of heaven."
    - Terry Pratchett

  2. #2

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    By all indices used to evaluate such matters, Canada is always considered one of the most civilised countries in the world, usually the most civilised. This is one hell of a blot on it though. One wonders were Irish surnames prominent on the shameful roll call of abusers. In similar situations in Britain, Australia and The United States, Irish surnames were very common indeed!

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    Politics.ie Member The Caped Cod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Passionateheart View Post
    By all indices used to evaluate such matters, Canada is always considered one of the most civilised countries in the world, usually the most civilised. This is one hell of a blot on it though. One wonders were Irish surnames prominent on the shameful roll call of abusers. In similar situations in Britain, Australia and The United States, Irish surnames were very common indeed!
    Given that in Catholicism's cultural colonisation of the New World, Irish priest made up alot of th efoot soldiers, I would imagine there were more than afew.
    But this was not just the work of the Catholic church, the schools Christian, some Catholic some Protestant. And it isn't even a religious matter, it was the state santioned, even state controlled destruction of a people.
    It brings to mind the US' short lived eugenics sterilisation programmes where all concepts of human dignity and compassion are left to the way side.

    The treatment of the Natives is indeed thegreatest blot on Canada's history.
    "Authority that cannot be questioned is tyranny and I will not accept tyranny, any tyranny, even that of heaven."
    - Terry Pratchett

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    Default "Truth and Reconciliation" in Canada

    It looks like the Canadian "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" is failing to "reconcile" with the indigenous people of Canada. The expenditure of huge amounts of money seems to lead only to further demands and allegations.
    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/01...of-aborigines/
    Canada premier accused of inciting hatred of aborigines

    "A Canadian women's group has accused the country’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper of inciting hatred of the indigenous people in the country by falling short of condemning racial practices against them. Ellen Gabriel of the ‘Indigenous Women of Turtle Island’ highlighted on Friday that so far she has observed a powerful and rising amount of racist reactions against the protests organized by the 'Idle No More' movement over aboriginal treaty rights.

    "The Canadian government’s failure to meet the demands of the First Nations has triggered many protests across the country. On January 16, hundreds of demonstrators, many carrying flags and signs calling on the federal government to listen to aboriginal concerns, blocked one of the two access roads to the Ambassador Bridge, which is the major trade crossing from southern Ontario to the US. Several other protest rallies had also been held or planned in cities nationwide, blocking rail and roadways, including the TransCanada Highway, as well as targeting oil sands mining in Western Canada. .......


    Meanwhile the "compensation" money doesn't seem to have done the trick:

    "Many of Canada's natives live in poor conditions with unsafe drinking water, inadequate housing, addiction, and high suicide rates."

    How is any Government supposed to prevent people from committing suicide? Will lots more money solve the problem?

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    Default More "Reconciliation"

    And in addition there is this
    PressTV - Canada chief warns of native retaliation
    Canada chief warns of native retaliation

    An influential aboriginal leader in Canada has warned the Ottawa government that natives could bring the economy to its knees if their demands are not met. On Thursday, Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, from the province of Manitoba, called on the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to immediately address the social and economic grievances facing many of Canada's 1.2 million aborigines, Reuters reported. "We have had enough. Our young people have had enough. Our women have had enough...We have nothing left to lose," Nepinak said.

    Canada's prime minister is due to hold talks on Friday with native leaders who say want more federal money, a greater say over what happens to resources on their land, and more respect from the federal Conservative government. “These are demands, not requests," said Nepinak, adding, "The Idle No More movement has the people - it has the people and the numbers - that can bring the Canadian economy to its knees…"


    Is this about people who have intolerable grievances - or alternatively about those with a limitless sense of entitlement who like to blame others for their problems?

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    Politics.ie Member eskrimador's Avatar
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    People often thnk of Canada as some Western Sweden but it has an awful human rights record.

    BTW, they have NO issue with being called Indians.
    Ya wouldn't want to have seen t happening but if Eammon Mc Cann and Bernie Devlin conceived a child, ideologically, it would be me

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    Quote Originally Posted by eskrimador View Post
    People often thnk of Canada as some Western Sweden but it has an awful human rights record.

    BTW, they have NO issue with being called Indians.
    Sweden is far from perfect. Up to the 1970s it had a policy of forced sterilisation on 'undesirables' and has also a history of covering up child abuse.

    The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo alludes to this dark underbelly.

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    Politics.ie Member eskrimador's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fra_south_Derry View Post
    Sweden is far from perfect. Up to the 1970s it had a policy of forced sterilisation on 'undesirables' and has also a history of covering up child abuse.

    The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo alludes to this dark underbelly.
    True, as did Canada.

    That said, I've spent a lot of time in Canada and love the country and the people. How many peoples can we judge by the actions of their governments?
    Ya wouldn't want to have seen t happening but if Eammon Mc Cann and Bernie Devlin conceived a child, ideologically, it would be me

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    Default Human Rights?

    Quote Originally Posted by eskrimador View Post
    People often thnk of Canada as some Western Sweden but it has an awful human rights record.

    BTW, they have NO issue with being called Indians.
    QUOTE “These are demands, not requests," said [Grand Chief Derek] Nepinak, adding, "The Idle No More movement has the people - it has the people and the numbers - that can bring the Canadian economy to its knees…" UNQUOTE

    In this case I would say that the human rights problem is with the so-called "victims" and not with the government of Canada.

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