Indian Residential School System in Canada

Topic: Education Issues
Words: 1480 Pages: 5


Historically, the adoption of the Indian Residential School settlement consensus was the most notable plan since execution in 2007. Among the vital provisions by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was to ease lives for the former residential institutions’ learners, their relatives, and other native persons who went through the resident schooling system (Hackett et al., 2016). The Canadian government sponsored TRC with seventy-two million dollars since starting the program up to 2015. TRC took more than five years to explore regions in Canada to collect data from reliable points in regards to the history, assembling indications, and to learn from people who had the key information (Hackett et al., 2016). TRC is known for inspiring individuals to share their narratives, history, and understanding of former learners of residential institutions.

The commission produced a multi-volume report in 2015 which comprised evidence-based information (EBI) on the subject. The Canadian government insists that all individuals should read all the sections of the report to understand of connection between the Indigenous people and the non-Indigenous persons in Canada (MacDonald, 2020). TRC is committed to taking necessary measures to address the focal point of resident institutions and enhance the issue of Canadian reconciliation. The commission has undertaken various measures such as education, pushing for reconciliation, culture and language, programs designed to educate youths, the foreigners to Canada, and welfare that target children.

The Outcome

Life in Residential Institutions

The aspect of government failing to fund residential schools led to children indulging in excessive tasks since there was a lack of sufficient labor in the institutions. There was some negligible involvement that brought a little difference such as in cleaning, landscaping, washing of utensils among other issues (Raphael, 2008). The government failed to keep the promises pledged concerning a better education system in the latter schools. It is also important to note that some teaching staff was involved in physical assault on learners which led to poor health standards for the victims (MacDonald, 2020).

Furthermore, the Indigenous schools had poor quality of food offered to the learners and it was noted that the general intake of food was rationally insufficient. Feeding children with spoilt diet led to an increase in the prevalence of underlying diseases to the young Indigenous learners.

Despite the native people in Canada having fresh items to eat from the hunting and gathering activities, the residential schools saw children being fed with poor nutritive food. Thus, it did not contribute to significant health boost in the body for the learners (Raphael, 2008). The environment of poor nutrition led to some long-lasting infections such as diabetes, cancer, circulatory ailments, and mental problems. Therefore, from the above elements, there is justification that Indigenous people have issues of chronic illnesses when compared to the non-Indigenous individuals in the current society.

To address the outlook of residential schools in Canada on history and legacy bases, various organizations were involved in collecting data and information on the latter. An example is the Aboriginal Healing Foundation (AHF), which indulged in research for the above subject for 16 years (Hutchings, 2016). AHF provided the results which suggested that young people who were sexually assaulted, mentally abused, or physically harmed lost the capability to grow and promote their families to have better living standards. Additionally, the foundation gave more than twenty outcomes of intergenerational upsets which have contributed significantly to dysfunctions and other adverse effects for the native people of Canada (Hackett et al., 2016).

The impact has lasted for many years from one society to another and all the generations have been affected for that matter. The problem, in this case, is that the Indigenous people passed the primitive ways whereby the current generation may have some practices that depict their forefather’s old ways in the society. The upsets also lead to advanced psychological issues such as depression for the survivors.

The government of Canada did not allow the Indigenous people to practice free will as it imposed policies that made the groups get assimilated in ways that they did not prefer. Before colonialists came, the native people used to have normal lifestyles and they were outgoing fellows in all matters (Chase, 2018). Later, the Europeans took over major factions of their culture such as administration and resources allocation powers that repressed the victims. After some time during the period, the colonial agents managed to outweigh the Indigenous people hence, affecting them almost in all sections of their original lives.

Solving the Problem

As a result of Europeans’ invasion of the Aboriginals, the group struggled to see whether reverting life to normal was feasible. For instance, the Indigenous people lost their properties, had their language affected, and their cultural observations were disallowed during the period of colonization (Hackett et al., 2016). It is also important to note that massacres contributed to the loss of lives for many Indigenous persons in Canada as they tried to defend their places and regions.

Up to today, the Indigenous people in Canada still experience struggles in society such as disparities in healthcare provision by the government, educational matters, employment rights among other key elements (Hutchings, 2016). Moreover, the Canadian government has breached the agreements made with Indigenous people in several ways. For instance, one of the provisions under the treaties demands for full execution of health services to Aboriginals but the government is still dragging the issue hence, humiliating the party.

Aboriginal individuals have been neglected in social factors that govern the health of an individual. Such include income, class, job offerings, education matters, childhood issues, the flora and fauna among other key fundamentals (Hutchings, 2016). The above-mentioned features are important as they determine how the health of an individual is perceived in society. It is estimated that the Aboriginals have been discriminated on almost all the listed factors and no policy has been implemented fully concerning the same. As seen in the previous text, the research has shown that the attendees of residential schools have been subjected to underlying health issues. As a result, it led to generational problems passed from one society to another among the Indigenous people (Raphael, 2008). Due to the impact of the historical drawbacks, the Aboriginals face challenges of contributing to community movements that can aid in negotiating for their rights in legal and logical ways.

Despite Canada being one of the countries with an effective health system, there are still imbalances in the provision of healthcare. The provisions of this report are intended to showcase the efforts made so far and the feasibility towards the objective of reducing discrimination for the Aboriginals (Chase, 2018). The government has been at the forefront to combat health disparities through some steps as discussed below.

Health Inequalities Tool

This is an important tool for reducing discrimination issues in healthcare. It includes files significantly showing the health disparities in Canada by all the groups in the existing population (Raphael, 2008). The tool comprises of the social, economic, and demographic elements. The intervention was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada in collaboration with the Canadian Health Network. Additionally, Statistic Canada and Canadian Institute for Health Information played a key role in the matter.

The Key Health Inequalities in Canada National Report

The measure is tasked with highlighting health issues in Canada. It was developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada with a collaborative effort from Pan-Canadian Public Health Network, Statistic Canada and First Nations Information Governance Centre (Raphael, 2008). The instrument is used by the government to eradicate any aspect of prejudice in healthcare provision. Through the two interventive tools, there is a likelihood for a positive policy that will be important to all parties involved.


The policies by the government should be able to tackle health disparities and ensure all groups in Canada have sufficient cover for medical issues. Guided by Section 35 of the Constitution Act, the Aboriginals have been recognized in Canada though there is a need to execute the provisions effectively as per Raphael’s research. It is encouraging to know that some policies and laws enable self-determination and self-governance for the Indigenous people of Canada. For instance, the Rights to the Land or Aboriginal Title, Rights to Subsistence Resources show that the group is being given the liberty to stand on their values and defend their rights.

Despite the current society that is driven by globalized measures, there are still issues of disparities when it comes to the Indigenous people of Canada. The report has shown that the resident schools contributed adversely to the outcome of various issues that were prevalent in colonial times. The native people of Canada went through tribulations more so for school children who were given poor nutritive value foods by the residential schools established by the Europeans. Therefore, it is important to address the rights of the Indigenous people of Canada to have equality and equity for them.


Chase, J. (2018). Healing generational trauma in Aboriginal Canadians. Voices In Bioethics, 4(7), 2-6. Web.

Hackett, C., Feeny, D., & Tompa, E. (2016). Canada’s residential school system: measuring the intergenerational impact of familial attendance on health and mental health outcomes. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 70(11), 1096-1105. Web.

Hutchings, K. (2016). Cultural genocide and the first nations of upper Canada: Some romantic-era roots of Canada’s residential school system. European Romantic Review, 27(3), 301-308. Web.

MacDonald, D. (2020). Canada’s truth and reconciliation commission: Assessing context, process, and critiques. Griffith Law Review, 29(1), 150-174. Web.

Raphael, D. (2008). Inequality spawns’ sickness: Addressing the social determinants of health in Canada. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Web.

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