a step towards modern residential schools?

by sophiaroseglt on February 19, 2014 - 11:50pm

In the 19th century the aboriginals of Canada were brought in residential schools in order to assimilate their culture. The constant discount of the Canadian government for the aboriginal education system has a negative impact accountably on the Native Americans, but more specifically on those who try to pursue greater education. The aboriginals of Canada are being forced to conform to sociological norms of a society that doesn’t even accepts or acknowledges them by conforming to their educational systems which will result in cultural loss as seen in the past with the residential schools.


In the article We’re going to be heard’ on First Nations Education Act: by Christopher Curtis in the Gazette on February 6, 2014 Delisle, the grand chief of the Kahnawake tribe, is scared the Canadian government will try to take over their educational system and impose their own academic standards. After rejecting the First Nation Education Act proposed by the Canadian government Delisle says it is a political fight that they are going to take the issue to Ottawa and make sure to be heard. The first nations want funding in order to fill in the gaps between both educational systems and also help young Canadian Native Americans aspire to continue post-secondary education. The government proposes that in order to have more funding for the on-reserve schools which rose only 2% since 1990, the Amerindians would have to reform the educational system to make it follow the modern western curriculum. The aboriginals are reluctant in giving the power for their education system back to the government since they have many successful stories to prove that their system works. The Amerindians mainly fear that The First Nation Education Act that has been released by Mr. Harper is a step towards a modern form of residential schools. Letting schools underfunded to deteriorate is a growing fear of the aboriginal community. They also fear the government will impose a curriculum based on standards that are established by the repressive government because it is the same core values that was seen in the residential schools years before.


According to the article Cultivating ignorance of Aboriginal realities in the Canadian Geographer written by Anne Godlewska, Jackie More, and C Drew Bednasek in 2010, they focus the article on the lack of proper adapted education in both the Amerindian and the mainstream communities.  They also emphasize the fact that non-adequate learning environments of native communities does not help encourage the mainstream society to take interest. Furthermore, this is highly due to the fact that unawareness of the native culture is omnipresent in our modern society and causes us, the mainstream culture, to ignore the oppressed society. The persecuted aboriginal society cannot raise itself to better standards on prejudice and discrimination as said in Cultivating ignorance of Aboriginal realities. This lack of adjustment in both parties causes disparities between them. The gaps can be seen mostly in lack of funding as it is said in the Cultivating ignorance of Aboriginal realities’ article but also in schooling that is transmitted. The authors also explained how the lack of interest by the mainstream community in the modern and traditional aboriginal education system doomed the natives to an education system lacking in consideration for the differences encountered. The first sentence of the article is “The principal problem in Aboriginal education in Canada is the education of Canadians” I believe it says a lot on the nature of the article and the point the authors are proving.

The Canadian Geographer is a cutting edge journal by which the aim is to distribute geographical information about modern issues. “We welcome papers that challenge the status quo, promote social justice and address significant social, scientific and technical issues in Canada and globally.” Taken from the Canadian Geographer website.

Various fields of study deal with collecting data of such social inequality such as, sociology, geography and anthropology. Sociology is the study that systematically observes, investigate, and analyze societies. Moreover, it thinks critically about social problems and social change according to the Concordia University website.  This field of study is relevant to the Native American education crisis because it ignites social awareness and change. The current events with The First Nation Education Act could be explained in a sociological perspective because it affects the status quo of a population and promotes a social injustice.


Hi I feel like you are an individual who I can take seriously. Your overall opinion can be seen throughout your text, but in a good way. I feel like you addressed the issue. Enjoy your life.

I really like the way you talk about the different ways in which the educational system is unequal. Along with the use of the sociological perspective you talked about I believe you also using Marx's theory on commodities. Education is a necessary aspect of life and becoming a human want more and more, as life is becoming more expensive. This commodity is also growing in it's use value as the more education you have the more use it will be. I think you could expand on your post by discussing giving an idea of how the school systems could go about making the changes necessary in order to improve it without losing their cultural identity.

Natives have always suffered due to discrimination and people's lack of understanding of their culture. Since the early years they have lost many things that once belonged to them starting with their land. I believe they should have their own ways of managing their communities. And if their education model has worked for them why try to change it. In order to get them up to date they should follow a process and help them get accustomed to the new changes our society have made.

Thank you very much for your comment. However, if the Government of Canada does make them follow a process to initiate them to modern lifestyle it would in the end be disruptive but I agree it wouldn't be as harmful as reforming their education system. The danger with this proposal is that the Native population already have a system that works and proposing them our innovations might be seen as us imposing our culture on them. In this situation, I believe that the government of Canada needs to adopt a more "laissez faire" attitude towards the aboriginals.