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Sun Dec 27, 2020, 06:42 PM

Stealing Native Children: the Revolting Legacy of Canada's Residential School System

DECEMBER 25, 2020

BY STANLEY L. COHEN



The Sum of Memories by Joni Sarah White.

Tsi Wá:ton tsi Enskarihwahserón:ni – Tsi Niká:ien Rati’terón:tahkwe ne

Ronnonkwehón:we Tsi Ionteweiénsta Ronwati’terontáhkhwa


“… If anything is to be done with the Indian, we must catch him very young. The children must be kept constantly within the circle of civilized conditions.”

-Nicholas Flood Davin, Report on Industrial schools for Indians and Half-Breeds, 1879.

Of late, there’s been a rebirth of interest about the notorious residential “school” system contrived and operated largely in Canada. Because it’s been my honor, for more than thirty years, to represent indigenous women, men and movements throughout North America on matters of self determination and international law, recently, I was asked by some friends abroad to write an article detailing the residential school system. Although much has been written about it, the narrative is usually a detached academic monologue that fails to put a real face on its true horror.

By now, many are aware of the government sanctioned history of stealing native children, isolating them far from family and communities in cold Christian edifices where the braids of young boys were shorn away to pilfer visual identity; where screams were ritual with victims beaten for the dare to speak their native tongue; where sex abuse was endemic among the dark, seedy hallways of a foreign faith; where thousands died from staggering neglect including starvation and unchecked disease such as tuberculosis and typhoid.

Yet, a practice strewn throughout Canada and parts of the United States was so much more insidious than physical assaults and shaved heads alone. For a calculated sanctioned scheme to erase entire cultures . . . a wretched effort to recast the millennium to suit the colonial needs of the moment . . . cannot be reduced to mere inadvertence or uncertainty. Indeed, if ever cultural genocide had consequential meaning and application it was in the residential school system with its deliberate effort to eradicate all aspects of Aboriginal culture and to sever and thwart its passage from one generation to the next. With ordained regularity, all captive students were belittled, humiliated and scorned no matter how hard their effort to accommodate their personal suffer and sacrifice or how well they acceded to the demands of their proselytizing wardens. As much forced labor camps as classrooms, in Canada, indigenous children were mandated by law to attend these hovels in which administrators became their legal guardians through a perverse partnership between the government and major churches as they conspired to wash away the identity and independence of the age-old Rohsken’ra:kete . . . gatekeepers of the land.

Meanwhile, never one to be out-purged by the “nuanced” cultural cleanse of hundreds of thousands of indigenous youth to its north, the United States expanded its age-old use of “trails of tears” to build schools of sobs. What began with the Indian Removal Act of 1830 which legislated the military’s forcible removal of a hundred thousand natives from east of the Mississippi River to the West leaving thousands dead along the way of disease, hunger and cold moved to the Compulsorily Attendance Law of 1891. Largely a difference without distinction both lawful strategies were the philosophical bastard of a conscious effort to eradicate by assimilate. To compel attendance, this law authorized the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to withhold food, clothing and annuities from those that refused to surrender their young to these early day (original) internment camps. Like their Canadian counterpart, once there in order to “civilize and Christianize” a generation of indigenous children, students were forced to abandon their Native-American identities through a crafted, imposed Euro-American culture in which their hair was cut, all indigenous languages banned and traditional names replaced by European ones. Like their Canadian counterpart, these schools were notorious for their cruelty leaving most subject to sexual, manual, physical and mental abuse. Many died. Others, broken beyond repair or return to their communities, spent the rest of their lives in misery, de facto exiles, far from their homes and culture.

More:
https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/12/25/stealing-native-children-the-revolting-legacy-of-canadas-residential-school-system/

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Reply Stealing Native Children: the Revolting Legacy of Canada's Residential School System (Original post)
Judi Lynn Dec 2020 OP
ret5hd Dec 2020 #1
Judi Lynn Dec 2020 #3
Doreen Dec 2020 #2
Judi Lynn Dec 2020 #4
Doreen Dec 2020 #5
MustLoveBeagles Dec 2020 #6
Duppers Dec 2020 #7

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Dec 27, 2020, 06:46 PM

1. The same system operated here in the U.S. also.

On edit: I now see that this is recognized in the OP.

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Response to ret5hd (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 27, 2020, 08:03 PM

3. Yep. Same barbarity by the European descended land-thieves and genocidal rulers in both places.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Dec 27, 2020, 06:55 PM

2. The latest Anne of Green Gables touched on that subject.

It was pretty horrifying.

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Response to Doreen (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 27, 2020, 08:05 PM

4. Did not know that, hadn't read it. Very glad you took the time to share it. Thank you. ⭐️

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 27, 2020, 10:50 PM

5. It was the last tv series. I have not read them either.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Dec 28, 2020, 12:34 AM

6. K&R

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Dec 28, 2020, 01:12 AM

7. European arrogant cruelty. 😡




Months ago I posted about a sympathetic family connection to the Trail of Tears: https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=14020836

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