Jessica Wongsam, Stephanie Silva-Sanchez, Shabnum Javed – Tamanawis Secondary School

Submitted By: Jessica Wongsam, Stephanie Silva-Sanchez, Shabnum Javed

Jessica, Stephanie, Shabnum

Residential schools were a place where children were deprived of an essential part of their childhood; culture. At a young age, aboriginal children were expected to assimilate into the western culture that was being invasively enforced upon the community. Through this process, children were registered into residential schools under the law, enforced by the government. This resulted in a negative impact that will forever remain in the hearts of aboriginal communities. While researching and looking for stories and accounts of Coqualeetza, many newspaper articles, books, and personal stories alike came into the attention of my peers and I. An anonymously written letter seemed to shed light on the school as a positive impact, saying it was truly a place of “cleansing and healing”. Contrary to this, many newspaper articles perceived the schools to be a place of forceful assimilation. At residential schools, instead of teaching and disciplining the students as sought out, the practices used resulted in high rates of sexual abuse by the members of the Roman Catholic and Anglican Church. The punishments used against the children caused low self-esteem, loss of initiative, and in numerous cases, suicide. The deprivation of proper means of living resulted in long-term trauma.
With the contrasting views written and recorded, my peers and I have come to the conclusion that these schools should be more exposed to the general public because many are still unaware of the injustices that had happened to the community. People of any background are entitled to their own rights to practice their cultures.

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