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Native education in Canada following the residential school era

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  1. Introduction
  2. The Canadian government's establishment of industrial and residential schools
  3. The view held by the Church missionaries designated with implementing the Residential school programs
  4. The study of Saskatchewan Aboriginal youth by Schissel and Wotherspoon
  5. The generations of children subjected to the racist residential schools
  6. The Medicine Wheel: The direct opposite of the chaos of trying to destroy culture through brutal means,
  7. Canada's Official Languages Act as noted by Fettes and Norton
  8. Conclusion
  9. Works cited

The history of Native-white relations in Canada is historically, colonial in nature and paternalistic in design, and racist.(Miller: 185) In addition, schooling may not be an idealistic location of growth and study but rather as Metis educator Fyre Graveline (1998) contends, ?ideological processing plants.? (Graveline: 8) As an educator Graveline situates herself as a critical educator, a member of the Aboriginal community ?responsible for giving back to the community that which I am learning?It is an act of reciprocity.? (Graveline: 8) Thus, contemporary aboriginal educators have to deal with two strands or facets in their critical practice: the legacy of the residential schools and their impact on aboriginal cultures, and the problems of self-directed autonomous education that is interrogative of the school system, while advocating new more holistic and spiritual means through which children can be taught. As Graveline writes,
?The ?ecological consciousness of our Ancestors has been bombarded by the Eurocentric philosophies that are necessary to support industrial capitalism. Aboriginal beliefs are no longer shared by all North Americans, but our people and our traditions continue to exist. Tradition is not lost if it can be remembered and revitalized to symbolize a possible future.? (Graveline: 8)

[...] Schissel and Wotherspoon, like Miller, work from the perspective that relations between Aboriginal peoples and formal education in Canada is largely a history of cultural genocide.? (Schissel and Wotherspoon: 35) Native people who endured life in the schools are coming forward with their stories of physical and sexual abuse, and research studies and scholarly papers analyzing the residential school era note connections among those abuses, the historical official policy of assimilation, and the current dilemmas faced by Aboriginal peoples and communities.? (Schissel and Wotherspoon: 35) High school students today in alternative Aboriginal-centered programs in Saskatchewan have access to studying their culture in ways that was never possible before in Canada including language classes in Cree or other languages, Native studies classes, Aboriginal history and spirituality classes.? (Schissel and Wotherspoon: 80) There is a great deal of books published, from children's picture books to historical, sociological non- fiction books today that could be part of an expanded curriculum that examines topics from an Aboriginal perspective. [...]


[...] (Mellow, 2000) As Martin Battiste (2000) contends the main contradiction about education in Canada today lies in the scientific, rational paradigm through which Canadians view the meaning of schooling. (Battistte: 194-195) The purposes of education in Canada may be fundamentally at odds with aboriginal education and values systems. But education is also needed to enable people to rise above the economic depths to which the aboriginal peoples have sunk due to structural racism in Canadian society. This makes the inclusion of aboriginal subjects in schools problematic as long as the entire philosophy of the schools are not open to critique and debate as well. [...]


[...] (2000) ?Introduction? in Aboriginal Education: Fulfilling the Promise, Vancouver: UBC Press pp. xi-xviii Castellano, M., Davis, L., and Lahache, L. (2000) ?Fulfilling the Promise? in Aboriginal Education: Fulfilling the Promise, Vancouver: UBC Press pp 251-255 Fettes, Mark and Norton, Ruth (2000) ?Voices of Winter: Aboriginal Languages and Public Policy in Canada? in Castellano, M., Davis, L., and Lahache, L. eds. Aboriginal Education: Fulfilling the Promise, Vancouver: UBC Press pp 29-54 Graveline, Fyre (1998) Circle Works: Transforming Eurocentric Consciousness, Halifax: Fernwood Publishing Henderson, James (2000) ?Ayukpachi: Empowering Aboriginal Thought? in Battiste, M. [...]

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