Every country has a history that both builds and defines its nation. It is composed of various events and people that greatly impact the participants and their surroundings.
The events occur in countless of ways, some are positive and form an immense sense of pride, while others are negative and are therefore shameful. Canada has an elaborate mix of such events but, due to the research gathered, it has become apparent that Canada does not have a history to be proud of. Like every country, positive events such as the establishment of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the founding of the Co Operative Commonwealth Federation, and the War in Air during World War 2 are remembered proudly by those who call themselves Canadians. Unfortunately, the focus on positive events such as these tends to overshadow the various of negative ones that plague Canadian history such as the residential schools that Aboriginal children were forced to go to, the segregation African-Americans faced in Africville, as well as the relief camps that were established by Prime Minister R.B. Bennett. These events are prime examples of Canada’s shameful history as they consist of Canada treating it’s citizens badly and revoking their rights in almost inhumane ways.
Canada must recognize the dark side of its history. Canada is responsible for the basic genocide of an entire culture. In the 1840’s the federal government began pushing the european way of life on the aboriginal people of Canada.
Aboriginal children were taken hundreds of miles from their families, many only seeing them once or twice a year if they were lucky. Canada established the Residential School System as an attempt to help aboriginals make the transition from the traditional lifestyle they lived for thousands of years to a more alternative, different way of life, with a more European influence. The residential schools were a complete immersion program, where children were prohibited from speaking their native language, practicing their spirituality, or displaying any form of aboriginal tradition. The goal was to turn these children into english speaking, christian farmers. Those who did not obey were often punished severely. Physical and sexual abuse ran rampant in these schools, while mortality rates soared in this environment. More than 150,000 native kids were thrown into this harsh and unfamiliar system against their will or the wishes of their parents and were forced to endure substandard conditions and endured physical and emotional abuse.
The last residential school was only closed in 1996, twelve years after the Canadian constitution and the Charter of Rights had been changed to accommodate the various different races that lived in Canada. Although the intention was to integrate Native Canadians within European-Canadian society, the whole process was far from positive for those families as thousands were separated from their families and communities due to a policy issued by the Canadian government.