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Scholars Day: April 11, 2012

Indian Residential School Syndrome and the Intergenerational Impact: Self Determination Theory in the Context of a Silent Genocide

Canadian Indian residential schools were established to kill the aboriginal in the children sent to the schools, and to remake them culturally into working class Canadians, religiously and politically. The goal was to do away with their languages and cultural practices. However, the goal was never achieved. Many of these children were mentally, emotionally and sexually abused for years before they were allowed to leave the schools that the Canadian government forced them into. Many died trying to escape by running away or by committing suicide at school. The ones that survived left with minimal education and work skills, with nowhere to go. Most graduates couldn't find work, and had no choice but to return to the reservations. The last residential school closed in 1996, but the effects have lasted. Graduates had high rates of depression, substance abuse, criminal activities and suicide. Many of these issues developed as coping mechanisms for the atrocities they faced. The psychological scars resonate in today's generations, in the form of Indian Residential School Syndrome as more aboriginal children are taken from their parents because of problems related to domestic instability. The goal for those trying to make reparations should involve anthropological analysis, the lasting effects of residential schools on aboriginal groups (First Nation, Metis and Inuit) in Canada to understand what is and is not working in the healing process. Both psychological studies and statistics are pulled together to understand the modern problems aboriginal people face today. A better understanding of Indigenous identity and specific uses of government aid should be carefully assessed to end the cycle of neglect that aboriginals chronically experienced, in the most effective and culturally nurturing way.


Please note that presentation times are approximate. If you are interested in attending sessions with multiple presentations, please be in the room at the start of the session.
Presenter: Nicole Ryan (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: Anthropology
Location: 102 Edwards
Time: 9:40 am Session I