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Residential Schools “From Shared History to Shared Hope.”

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Presentation on theme: "Residential Schools “From Shared History to Shared Hope.”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Residential Schools “From Shared History to Shared Hope.”

2 Understanding the treaty Our elders have said, “You cannot begin to understand the treaties unless you understand our cultural and spirital traditions and our Cree laws.” -Elder Jimmy Myo The non-Indian has to become aware of both the fundamentals and the depth of our way of worship because our inner soul is connected to Creation. –Elder Peter Waskahat

3 Education Education as a separate compartmentalized action is a new concept for North America’s indigenous people. In this area, the nehiyawak (Cree) highly valued the children. There was a history of what and how children were related to and “opikinowasowin” or Good Child Rearing remains one of the foremost values in Cree life as illustrated in the ceremony of raising the tipi. This ceremony was repeated every time the tipi was raised. The idea of education is a rather new concept across the world, however; the ideas of child raising were quite different from the British model of education that we have now.

4 Aboriginality refers to the creation of the category “Indian” in which many nations became represented as one, which are now referred to as Aboriginal, or First Nation, which occurred during treaty. Many of the languages are as different from each other as German to English. As are the worldview

5 Some of the beliefs and values, which are embedded in the traditional home of the nehiyawe Cree people

6 Nehiyawe (Cree) Worldview as illustrated by Judy Bear

7 Good Childrearing: Opikinowasowin The way the Cree related to their children and taught their children became apparently different upon first contact and was written into the journals of the furtraders and other white men who journalled to illustrate some of the scenes upon First contact.

8 The wise men and women who negotiated our treaty, never intended to trade in our way of life when they negotiated for education. “Morning Song”

9 What were Residential Schools? (Click on picture for a video explanation). Where Are the Children? Healing the Legacy of the Residential Schools

10 The Residential School System 139 schools operated across Canada in almost every province an territory from the 1830’s to 1996. Until the 1960’s residential schools were run by various Christian churches with support from the Canadian Government. Aboriginal children were taken from their parents and their homes. They were forced to learn new languages and religious and cultural practices. Students were punished for speaking their own language and practicing their own traditions. Residential schools were part of a systemic policy of assimilation.

11 Spreading “Civilization”. Prevailing attitudes of the time saw First Nations people seen by Europeans as “savages” who needed civilizing. Enfranchisement meant the systematic stripping of treaty rights to make First Nations people citizens of Canada.

12 Conditions at Residential Schools Residential schools were generally underfunded and understaffed. Diseases, malnutrition and abuse were common in these schools and resulted in high death rates. Other abuses included: sexual abuse, beatings, punishments for speaking Aboriginal languages, forced eating of rotten food, widespread hunger and thirst, bondage confinement, and forced labour. Survivors of residential schools often report loss of identity, loss of family, loss of language, and loss of culture.

13 Healing and Reconciliation: Starting in the 1990’s many Aboriginal people came forward with their stories of their experiences in residential schools. Many agencies involved, including the Canadian government, have apologized and/or recognized their role in this chapter of our history. Residential school survivors and their communities to heal and move forward with their lives.

14 Why is this issue important to all Canadians?

15 Why it matters… There is a continued effect on First Nations communities. It happened here, despite that we are known as a world leader in democracy and human rights. It is major cause of poverty, homelessness, substance abuse, and violence among Aboriginal people. Aboriginal communities suffer levels of poverty, illness, and illiteracy comparable to those in developing countries. We share this land and we are responsible for how we move forward.

16 Glossary Assimilation – the process of adapting or adjusting to the culture of a group or nation. Enfranchisement – to admit to citizenship. Reconciliation - the process of making consistent or compatible

17 Citations Tipi poster atstudies/pdf/tipi.pdf Tipi poster atstudies/pdf/tipi.pdf Christensen, Deanna. Ahtahkakoop: The Epic Account of a Plains Cree Head Chief, His People, and Their Vision for Survival, 1816-1896. Shell Lake, Sask.: Ahtahkakoop Pub., 2000. Judy Bear Wordview: SUNWEST SCHOOL DIVISION Elders quotations taken from: Cardinal, Harold, and Walter Hildebrandt. Treaty Elders of Saskatchewan: Our Dream Is That

18 Additional resources for you to use in your classroom and your staffroom 1.702280 Office of the treaty commissioner, Treaty Kit (in every school) Indigenous Education blog: Treaty6Education website:

19 Living Sky School Division 2014

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