Residential Schools in Canada: History, Healing and Hope

Glynn Sharpe


Residential Schools in Canada were created to assimilate native children into Canadian culture. Native traditions, languages and lifestyles were systematically obliterated via prescribed curriculum, punitive educational practices and rampant physical, emotional, spiritual and sexual abuse inflicted upon them. The lingering effects of such atrocities (alarmingly high suicide rates, alcohol and drug addiction and feelings of negative self-worth) have plagued subsequent generations of Aboriginal people in Canada. A residential school survivor’s testimonial helps contextualize the horrors experienced by thousands of children. The paper concludes with the steps undertaken by native groups across Canada that hope to address, via traditional healing methods, the residual effects of such a legacy of pain.

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