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Needs and Expectations for Redress of Victims of Abuse at Native Residential Schools

Claes, Rhonda
June 4, 2015

Source: (2001) Paper prepared for the Law Commission of Canada. Downloaded 21 April 2004.

This paper is intended to provide a review of the needs of victims of abuse in residential schools, and the outcomes they seek from the process of redress. Our goal is to obtain as complete and accurate a picture as possible of the needs and expectations of residential school survivors.
Residential schooling was an aspect of colonisation that had a particularly destructive effect on First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, families, and individuals. Several generations of native people over the past one hundred and fifty years attended residential schools. Many children were subjected to horrific physical and sexual abuse, sometimes lasting over periods of year, and many of them died. Far more children experienced a standard level of brutality, in an environment characterised by forced labour, poor and inadequate food, harsh discipline, little or no medical attention, the absence of family and community ties, and a complete lack of emotional nurturing. Only a small minority got an education — academic or vocational — out of the experience. All students were dependants in a system which expounded an unquestioned belief in the moral and intellectual superiority of white culture, and vilification of all aspects of native life.
Long awaited recognition that this experience produced profound, and profoundly negative, impacts has given rise to this report. We do hope we’ve presented a clear picture of what the problems are, because a clear picture does provide a foundation for action. Our recommendation, none of which incidentally, haven’t been made before, point to some of the many actions that would recognise, and perhaps in small measure alleviate, a massive grief and long standing injustice. (excerpt)


AbstractCourtsIndigenous JusticeNorth America and CaribbeanPoliceRJ in Schools
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