The Oppression of the Aboriginals in Canada

7 July 2016

Aboriginal people, the first nations amongst Canada, being outnumbered for years had been put under a situation in which hindered in the continuation of their identity alone. Although with the years in its withstanding, the importance of the events and all of the occurrences make a part of the strength and downfall to the native population. Through the hardships, it’s definitely evident that there were many aspects towards cultural differences, as well as social differences. In that sense, a strong conflict theory had definitely been present.

Regardless of other factors, the conflict theory would best describe the situation with aboriginals as there was a big stretch of power differential and humanity amongst these people was definitely non-existent. Aboriginals fell under a lot of inequality and pressures of succeeding obstructed their ways of life. In the film “Education As We See It”, we were taken on a twenty minute ride that glimpsed over the experiences of aboriginal students. Real life people talked about fond memories or “scars” so-to-speak regarding aboriginal residential schools.

The Oppression of the Aboriginals in Canada Essay Example

Punishment was more than often quite severe and also more than often involved physical pain. [Bob, Geraldine and Gary Marcuse. (1993)] In these aboriginal residential schools, the most common punishment was something called the strap. However, what made the punishments worse was that they were physically abused and punished out in the open in front of everyone to see, including the children. So in that way, the aboriginal students suffered public humiliation on top of the physical pains. Often punishments were totally uncalled for, such as strapping a child for wetting the bed.

Many consequences were terribly negative. The fact that children were being beat was mentioned in the documentary for simple little wrongdoings and they were treated as though they were animals. [Bob, Geraldine and Gary Marcuse. (1993)] A definite matter of fact was that a lot of children were abused in many ways at these residential schools. The punishment usually involved strapping and public humiliation. In one incident, one boy had gotten needles pushed through his tongue because he had gotten caught speaking his native language. [Bob, Geraldine and Gary Marcuse.

The nuns and priests had no shame and they had verbally abused many of the children continuously. They were called animals on top of being treated like ones, and they were also told that their background and culture was evil and were made to believe that they were worthless. Cultural identity was a huge loss for these aboriginal children, as well as their native language, their traditions and spiritual growth development in which caused a lot of confusion and loss. The sole purpose in the creation of these aboriginal schools was primarily to demolish all of aboriginal culture and teach them Canadian/European values and beliefs.

So in the competition for the limited resources fueled the conflict theory aspect of aboriginal residential schools. On a larger scale, students from more privileged backgrounds in the classrooms and out were more likely to continue on with higher education. This meant the cultural capital amongst aboriginal students provided lower economic and social success which “relinquished” possibilities for human (aboriginal) development and progress. [Ravelli, B. , & Webber, M. (2010). (p. 313-314)] The aboriginal residential schools weren’t exactly the best place to live.

Part of the reasoning was due to the great lack of funding, which much of it had to do with the way that the schools had been run. [McClinchey, B. (2012, October). Lecture Seven Education] Most former students will not forget one huge thing; hunger. The food at the residential schools were neither nutritious nor abundant. They were also usually not very appealing or appetizing. Students would actually lose weight while attending the school, as some of which would have been in their prime growth where they should be gaining weight. Bonding with loved ones became poorer and poorer as time went by.

These aboriginal children were taken from their families and communities and that put a damper towards their inadequate communication skills and poor expression of feelings. Development of negative traits and abilities such as the inability to trust others, they often became indifferent towards loved ones as they were violated and a serious breach of trust occurred, which thus caused distrust in other authority figures. This affected them even to the point where that discipline didn’t help them much, as they started to make poor decisions and had behavioral difficulties.

Difficulties of not knowing how one was to behave in particular situations which caused threats were also a growing factor. After being faced by extreme racism, hatred, abuse, and belittlement, the scars left amongst the Aboriginals will stick to them forever. In reality, residential schools with a positive intent, hit an obvious backfire and damaged the aboriginal population all together. It became a huge hindrance in terms of culture, and self, as well as stunting the growth of the aboriginals.

This is what made it a conflict theory. As one proposes situations throughout the film, none other than residential schools being perceived as “instrumental” towards preparation for the future just becomes the setback in human progression and developmental selves. [Ravelli, B. , & Webber, M. (2010). (p. 313-314)] As stated in the film, these situations contrast and go hand in hand with one another in a sense that with Canadian ruling, these Aboriginal residential schools are sought out to destroy their identity and culture.

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