Posts Tagged ‘residential schools’

abuse in residential schoolsYears ago a very quiet, polite man came to me after class one day. He waited until everyone else had left the classroom.

I had made a negative comment about the residential schools the government forced on first nations young people. I thought the man was going to confirm my comments about how terrible the schools were.

But he didn’t. He and his wife taught in one of the schools. “You know, Ed, they weren’t all bad. I tried hard to teach a good course and…well, it was a different era.”

The man was embarrassed that he had taught there.

This started me thinking about the relationship of the residential schools to our prisons today. Of course, most of the people in prison are guilty of a crime and that’s one big difference.

A hundred years ago residential schools were considered the right course of action. Very few people asked questions like, “Is it right to take children from their parents, from their culture?” Most people assumed it was right.

Today we pay compensation to those who were hurt through the residential schools. Turning to prisons, in the recent case of Ashley SmithAshley Smith that we talked about last week, no doubt the government will have to pay compensation for what happened. Will this continue? Will people get compensation because they contracted a dangerous disease while in prison? Will they get compensation because guards bullied them? What about being raped as many male and female inmates are?

There are people who try to do a good job in prison, teachers, psychologists, general staff. Will they prison industrial complex. Who profits?be embarrassed by the fact that they once worked there? Will the pharmacists, the grocery people, the rural unemployed, the people in the prison-industrial complex, will they feel bad because people suffered under a system that they profited from?

What about the volunteer teachers of creative writing? Are they guilty, too?


I don’t know. I’d like your opinion.

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