History Of Residential Schools: Canadian Genocide

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Michael Litz Dr. Sarah Henzi FNST 101 D100 November 22, 2014 Residential Schools a Canadian Genocide The term “genocide” has rarely been associated with the description of the Government’s treatment of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. The first Residential schools were created in 1870 three years after Canada’s confederation. The Canadian government has only recently acknowledged the atrocities and hardships that occurred in these government supported schools for Aboriginals. Does the term genocide accurately define the treatment of Aboriginal people that were apart of the Residential school system in Canada? One must look into Canada’s past and examine the events that have effected generations of people. However, genocide must first be…show more content…
The word genocide was created and emerged during the second World War. According to the BBC News article Analysis: Defining Genocide 2010, the term was coined in 1943 by the Jewish-Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin who combined the Greek word "genos" (race or tribe) with the Latin word "cide" (to kill)(1). It was after World War II when the first legal definition of genocide was established. Andrea Ford’s article for Time; A Brief History of Genocide 2008 explains, in 1948 three years after the fall of Nazi Germany and the end of some of the worst human atrocities (Holocaust) in history, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) (1). The United Nation legally defined genocide under Article Two of the CPPCG as "any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group”(1). These acts consist of; (a) killing members of the group, (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, and (e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another…show more content…
The school did not just effect the children who attended them, but the generations of children raised by Residential school survivors. Richard Wagamese Returning to Harmony explains the difference between a survivor and victim of Residential school. When I say victim, I mean something substantially different than “Survivor.” I never attended a Residential school, so I cannot say that I survived one. However, my parents and my extended family members did. The pain they endured became my pain, and I became a victim (153). The pain his family members suffered through and many others, have created the problems that are commonly associated with Aboriginals such as; substance abuse and domestic violence. These issues created by Residential schools have manifested generations of problematic behaviour for Aboriginal people. Wagamese shares some of the hardship he experienced as a “victim” of residential schools. “My siblings and I endured great tides of violence and abuse from the drunken adults.We were beaten, nearly drowned, and terrorized. We took to hiding in the bush and waited until the shouting, cursing, and drinking died away (155).” Survivors of the Residential schools that were subject to abuse by the government are now abusing themselves and their family’s implementing future problems for the next generation of Aboriginals. Waganese’s life story is just one of many lives

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