Sunday, August 8, 2021

A Shattered Vision: Residential Schools, Forced Assimilation, and Shifting our Collective Consciousness

          It’s not a secret that I love studying history; I believe it is a vital discipline for understanding and transforming the world. And as shocking and terrifying as human cruelty has been throughout recorded history, it’s also heartening to observe, time and time again, the movements opposing oppression that have always existed. This is also important to remember if you are tempted to excuse the complicity of people in the past by insisting that they were just products of their time. By studying history, we also become more aware of our own responsibilities and possibilities in the present.

A Legacy of Failure, Cruelty, and War

One of these important historical moments in US history, when there were multiple and large movements to either oppose or work for social justice, followed the American Civil War. Optimism that Reconstruction would bring about true and lasting healing and change in a nation ravaged and traumatized by the horrors of slavery and war, combined with optimism that there could be a change in the government’s policies regarding Native peoples. President Ulysses S. Grant and the events that took place in his administration are a good example of these trends.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Shedding Light on Residential Schools (Part 1)

          Last May, we learned that “the remains of 215 children” were found near Kamloops in southern British Columbia, victims of the system of residential boarding schools. In June, 751 more unmarked graves were “found near the former Marieval Indian Residential School” and, one week later, “the remains of an additional 182 people” were found near “the former St Eugene's Mission School.” In July, 160 “undocumented and unmarked graves" were discovered “near the former site of the Kuper Island Industrial School.”  ( ) These kinds of schools were sponsored by the governments of both Canada and the United States and on July 14 in the US, a solemn procession of hundreds of cars accompanied the “disinterred remains of nine Native American children who died more than a century ago while attending a government-run school in Pennsylvania” back “to Rosebud Sioux tribal lands in South Dakota”.  ( )