The Aboriginal Culture
Similarities and differences between the culture of origin and
the culture cultivated in the residential school as seen in the film.
The residential schools in Canada was a system that was aimed at providing disciplined based ideal that endorsed the denial of the aboriginal culture in favor of the European way of life (Milloy, 1999). These schools were runned by the various church organizations that existed by then. This move aimed to promote religious and cultural assimilation. Despite its positive intent, the brutality that was experienced by the young aborigines in the residential schools emphasized the difference between the aboriginals’ way of life and that experienced in the residential schools making complete integration imposable.
In the aboriginal culture, ownership of property is regarded as communal (Crawford & Tantiprasut, 2003, p.12-16). In the residential school however, the children are that ownership of property is a reward of handwork. As per the film, it is clearly evident that work must always be done, while in the aboriginal culture work is often motivated by needs. In western culture, someone’s death will involve the extended family while that adopted in the residential school involves the next of kin.
Assertiveness in the first nation of Canada is viewed as non-communal while the culture instilled in children at the residential schools views assertiveness as a social skill. In spite of the many difference there exists some similarities that exist between these two cultures. They both have faith in a supreme being and that aging is a stream of wisdom. Another similarity is that both the cultures as evident from the film emphasizes on respect to all people.
How school lessons seen in the film attempt to assimilate the aboriginal
children into mainstream Canadian culture.
Teachers teaching the students about charismas introduced them to new world religion. Their mythical way of life was now viewed as inferior compared to the catholic religion that was dominant in the residential schools. Praying before beginning classes and before sleeping perfectly alighned the children with the catholic religious way of life.
Basically, the missionaries in the residential schools used two strategies firstly, they taught children how to be ashamed with their culture and norms in order to promote the adoption of western culture and bring assimilation. Secondly, these children were taken away from their parents at a very tender age and subjected into physical and mental abuse. The use of English language in their studies also alienated the aboriginal children from their norms and destroyed their culture at the root level.
The far we have come towards making Canadian schools multicultural, representative and celebratory of the diversity of the students that study there.
Educational multiculturalism in Canada brought through the introduction of residential schools in Canada gives equal time to the many cultural perspectives all over the world. The progress of assimilation in Canada can be attributed to the introduction of residential schools in Canada, these residential schools were first established by the Roman Catholic Church and it controlled over 70 percent of these schools all over Canada. The major purpose of the residential schools was to eliminate the aboriginal culture and replace it with the western civilization.
Other than the introduction of the residential schools, multiculturalism in Canada was adopted in the 1970s by Pierre Elliot Trudeau who was by then the prime minister. This policy emphasis on the social significance of immigration to the country. Since then the country has been occupied with people of various races and it is now untied. Multiculturalism is well stated in the multiculturalism act of the country.
Canada was the first nation to adopt multiculturalism in the entire world (P Day, 2000). By doing this, the country has affirmed self-esteem to its all citizens regardless of the race that one belongs. The policy also confirms the rights of the aboriginal people unlike the residential schools that deemed to totally eliminate the cultures and norms of the people. Through multiculturalism all citizens in Canada can take pride in their ancestry and feel the acceptance by others, it has also helped in boosting cross-cultural harmony and understanding.
Through multiculturalism, all citizens are guaranteed fairness and equality among them. It is through this that the Canadians recognizes and appreciates other people’s potential regardless of their origin.
Arguably, multiculturalism has enhanced naturalization than as compared to the days of residential schools (Tierney, 2007). There is no more pressure to give up your own culture for the expense of assimilation. The increased diversity in the country’s, has enhanced international; communications more than ever. Canada is now in a well suited position to participate in the various global activities including trade and diplomacy since other are Canadians who can speak many languages.
Notably, the negative effects of residential schools can never be undone; it’s clearly evident that residential schools have shaped stereotypes and racism in Canada. Despite this, the Canadian government has learned the hard way from its past mistakes, by the government taking the right move towards the compensation package; I can give them a (B) score. Although money will never reverse the impact of the residential schools, it is a step towards a positive direction.
`Stephen Harper’s government should form associations that will help educate the future generations and uphold the culture of the Canadian citizens and address the extraordinary abuses that occurred in the residential schools setting. Hopefully, Stephen Harper’s government should address critically and closely examine the awful legacy that was left behind by the missionaries.
Crawford, J., & Tantiprasut, L. (2003). Australian Aboriginal culture. Western Australia: R.I.C. P Day, R. J. F. (2000). Multiculturalism and the history of Canadian diversity. Toronto [u.a.:
Univ. of Toronto Press. Publications.
Milloy, J. S. (1999). A national crime: The Canadian government and the residential school
system, 1879-1986. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.
Tierney, S. (2007). Multiculturalism and the Canadian Constitution. Vancouver: UBC Press.