George Jonas: Residential schools were a savage solution to a lingering problem

The lasting legacy of Residential Schools.. a time & place ..that continues to percolate …leaving a bitter taste for all who drink from the common well…of Canadian history

National Post | Full Comment

Liberal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler called it “the single most harmful, disgraceful and racist act in our history” and he was right. He was talking about Canada’s attempt to assimilate its indigenous population through compulsory residential boarding schools for native children. Such programs operated in various forms between the mid-1880s and the late 1940s, and merited Cotler’s description in every particular.

It’s important to note that the residential school programs were disgraceful, not just from the perspective of our times, but from the perspective of their own. Forcibly removing children from their families to place them in an alien, loveless, institutional environment and deliberately deprive them of their language and culture, even without subjecting them to routine humiliation and frequent physical or sexual abuse, would have been viewed as cruel, inexcusable, un-Christian and very possibly criminal in the late 19th and early 20th centuries no less than in ours.

The…

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