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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Indian Problem

The Indian Problem

I don’t know why those people are complaining. They got an education. They would have nothing if those schools hadn’t taken them.” This was a comment I was recently treated to while discussing the fact that the Nunavut Territorial Government was not as successful an experiment as had been hoped when the territory was promulgated in 1997. I believe that so many of the people who were meant to administer the “self-government” did not have the educational background to do an adequate job. Hence the above comment that those that got education in residential schools should count themselves lucky.

Well, to the best of my knowledge most kids in middle and high school do not appreciate the educational opportunities they have been afforded. How could the native peoples of Canada be expected to appreciate their educational experience when it was accompanied by sodomy, beatings and cultural annihilation?

What people fail to realize is that even though the residential schools have not been in operation for years, the abuse that occurred there has been passed on from one generation to another like a maladaptive gene. Abuse begets abuse. The scars on the grandparents’ hearts manifest themselves in the often abusive lives lead by their children. It takes a great deal of work to break this cycle and very few people can. When they do, it is a personal triumph but in this case an entire class of people have been affected and a few success stories don’t attract attention away from the general trend.

This issue may be of concern to many Canadians no matter their ethnicity. But for me, I have always taken a special interest in Native problems. My Great Great Grandmother was Iroquois. I never met her and saw but a few pictures of her, but her Indianess is writ large in my mythology of the clan.

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