Intergenerational Impacts due to Mistreatment of Natives in Residential Schools

Back in the 1880’s to the mid 1900’s there were numerous residential schools run by the Canadian government and Christian church. Their purpose was to erase Native culture, by means of assimilating them to a more European-like culture. (Hanson, The Residential School System, 2011) Many people believe that since these schools are now closed, the effects that they had on Indigenous students are no longer valid. This is far from the truth. Even the descendants of school victims 2-3 generations later are still affected dearly by the experience.

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Before and after residential school picture of an Indigenous student

These schools were very harsh towards the Indigenous students, and the students were often abused physically, verbally, and sexually. This had a great toll on their mental state, and often led to substance abuse, violence, or suicide. The larger issue is that these effects have been passed on from generation to generation, essentially creating a cycle. This cycle is extremely hard to break as it has become an epidemic of profound proportion in their culture.

Many political, economic, and social issues in the First Nations are connected to the abuse received at residential schools generations ago. Some of these issues include abuse of power, homelessness, loss of community, breakdown of families, poverty as well as the addiction/substance abuse previously mentioned. (Restoule, The Soul Wounds of the Anishinabek People, 2013) From the residential school experience stems the ongoing challenge of incarceration. This is a primary reason why natives are ten times more likely to be involved in crimes compared to other ethnic populations in Canada. Moreover, those of a Native background in prison are on average, younger than the remainder of the prison population. (Canadian Government, Aboriginal Offenders – A Critical Situation, 2013) This data demonstrates that Aboriginal youth tend to lose their way at a younger age, and a prime factor affecting this is the intergenerational impact from residential schools.

Protester's shirt depicting how even the direct oppression has stopped, the indirect effects live on.
Protester’s shirt depicting how even though the direct oppression has stopped, the indirect effects live on.

In conclusion, the Church and Canadian Government’s role in the overseeing of residential schools has impacted Indigenous people greatly at the time, and is still impacting them today. Sadly, as of now it seems that the intergenerational effects will continue until the loop is broken.

Cgallant

References

Hanson, Erin. “The Residential School System.” Indigenous Foundations. UBC, 16 Jan. 2011. Web. 8 Apr. 2015. <http://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/home/government-policy/the-residential-school-system.html&gt;.

Restoule, Brenda. The Soul Wounds of the Anishinabek People. North Bay: Union of Ontario Indians publisher, 2013. 1-12. Anishinabek Nation . Web. 6 Apr. 2015. <http://www.anishinabek.ca/irscp/irscp-health-resources.asp&gt;.

“Aboriginal Offenders – A Critical Situation.” Office of the Correctional Investigator. Canadian Goverment, 16 Sept. 2013. Web. 9 Apr. 2015. <http://www.oci-bec.gc.ca/cnt/rpt/oth-aut/oth-aut20121022info-eng.aspx&gt;.

http://www.calvin.edu/library/knightcite/index.php

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Intergenerational Impacts due to Mistreatment of Natives in Residential Schools

Misappropriation of Funds in Attawapiskat

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Resident of Attawapiskat First Nations reserve

In the last few years there has been much talk in the media about the seemingly “underfunded” Attawapiskat First Nations reserve. The Attawapiskat counsel has been pushing for more funding in order to provide for its people the basic necessities. The question to be asked is not how much more money must been sent to Attawapiskat, but rather where has the previously sent money been used? Has this money being allocated where it is needed most? Or is it being spent carelessly by the Attawapiskat counsel?

To begin, from the years 2006-2011 roughly $170 million has come into Attawapiskat; 35% from their own revenue, 12.9% from provincial funding, and 52.1% from federal funding. These are certainly staggering figures for a town of only about 1,800 residents.(Hodnet, National Post, 2011) So how can this community be pulling in such large amounts of money, but still not be able to supply adequate housing, running water, and electricity? The answer is simple, yet unexpected.

The people of Attawapiskat are, without a doubt suffering dearly. Not because of lack of funding, but due to the counsel’s fiscal mismanagement headed by Chief Theresa Spence. Being a First Nations reserve, all revenues coming into the reserve are managed by Chief Theresa Spence and her counsel of 18 members. This allows for the misallocation of funds to be hidden easily by those in charge. This could explain why close to $300,000 is brought in annually between Chief Theresa Spence and her boyfriend,

Spence's boyfriend, former Attawapiskat financial manager
Spence’s boyfriend, former Attawapiskat financial manager

who was appointed as financial manager by Spence when he has no education in the field. (Levant, Sun News, 2013)While Theresa Spence and her boyfriend collectively make more than the Prime Minister of Canada, the rest of the Attawapiskat population struggles to provide a safe and hospitable environment for their families. Furthermore, Deloitte conducted an audit of Attawapiskat financial statements early 2013. Deloitte examined 505 transactions to determine whether or not the reserve’s spending adhered to federal funding agreements. Roughly 81% of these transactions lacked proper supporting documents, as well as 60% having no reason for the transactions at all. The audit also turned up several other instances in which the reserve did not adhere to its agreement with the CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation). Precisely not opening up another account for reserve funds that were used to repair/replace dilapidated houses, and continuously underfunding this area.

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Chief Theresa Spence seen in her new Hummer

Conclusively, Chief Teresa Spence as well as the Members of the Attawapiskat Band have been repeatedly mismanaging reserve funds, and thus not prioritizing the resolution of the housing crisis as she says she is. As of now, the people of Attawapiskat still live in substandard conditions. They struggle to provide adequate housing, appliances, electricity, and running water for their families due to the actions of Chief Theresa Spence.

Cgallant

References

Hodnet, Brett. “The real math behind Attawapiskat’s $90 million.” National Post. N.p., 4 Dec. 2011. Web. 6 Apr. 2015. <http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/brett-hodnett-the-real-math-behind-attawapiskats-90-million&gt;.

“The scandals of Chief Theresa Spence and.” Sun News. Sun News Network. SNN, 3 Jan. 2013. Web. 6 Apr. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDa8YDb3Ag4&gt;.

Galloway, Gloria. “Attawapiskat audit raises questions about millions in spending.” The Globe and Mail. G&M, 7 Jan. 2013. Web. 6 Apr. 2015. <http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/attawapiskat-audit-raises-questions-about-millions-in-spending/article6995751/&gt;.

Misappropriation of Funds in Attawapiskat

A Different Type of Housing Crisis: My “The People of The Kattawapiskak River” Reflection

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    The people of The Kattawapiskak River documentary did an excellent job at showcasing the conditions on the Attawapiskat reserve; which are comparable to that of a third-world nation.

Right from the beginning, I can see that the use of raw footage showing various aspects of the reserve is very helpful in letting the audience understand just how bad the conditions are. The raw footage of the protests also show that the Attawapiskat people will not simply give up and they will continue to fight for what is needed. There are also times when interviews are mixed in with raw footage, such as when the woman is being interviewed in her “house” and it then cuts to a voice over while showing different components of her makeshift home. The utilization of House of Commons footage proved to be very important in the film as many members of different political parties were shown speaking on the Attawapiskat issue. I think that this footage was very useful because it worked to show what many people in the government thought on the topic, and how they proposed to fix it.

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To conclude, this documentary was clearly constructed very well, due to its abundance of film techniques and conventions. These conventions mixed with the certain scenes included in the film, created a very impactful and effective documentary.

Cgallant

Reference

Obomsawin, Alanis, dir. The People of The Kattawapiskak River. Narr. Alanis Obomsawin. 2012. Web. 9 Apr. 2015. <https://www.nfb.ca/film/people_of_kattawapiskak_river/&gt;.

http://www.calvin.edu/library/knightcite/index.php

A Different Type of Housing Crisis: My “The People of The Kattawapiskak River” Reflection

Stolen Culture: My “Stolen Spirits of Haida Gwaii” Reflection

stolenspirits the_jade_canoe

I always believed that the Indigenous artifacts showcased in museums were donated by the Indigenous peoples to the museums. After viewing the Stolen Spirits of Haida Gwaii documentary I now know that a lot of these artifacts were taken unrightfully; Stolen as the title suggests.

Throughout the documentary I realized that community and heritage is very important to the Haida Gwaii people. There are many scenes displaying this such as the large community dinners/dances, and how no cameras were allowed in while they spent time with the ancestors. All through the film interviews are constantly occurring, which is great as it allows for the expression of different opinions and thoughts. The text on screen to go with the interviews is also very helpful because it delivers useful information quickly to the audience. The inclusion of traditional Haida Gwaii music in certain sequences was a superb use of diegetic and non-diegetic sound. This addition also reinforced the fact that although so much was taken from them, they will carry on, and preserve their culture. When the camera is waiting outside the room, it wandered around much like you or I would if we were in the same position. This was a unique convention, and it also showed a display case containing butterflies, which symbolize wandering spirits in Haida Gwaii culture.

In conclusion, this documentary really shed a light on how Native artifacts were stolen, and just how intensely this has impacted later generations.

Cgallant

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References

McMahon, Kevin, dir. Stolen Spirits of Haida Gwaii. Writ. Kevin McMahon. 2004. Web. 9 Apr. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n17f5r2dc-s&gt;.

Stolen Culture: My “Stolen Spirits of Haida Gwaii” Reflection

Are These Real Indians? My “Reel Injun” Reflection

reel_injun

I never did know just how many movies there were that showcased Natives in a stereotypical manner until I saw the opening scenes of Reel Injun.

The documentary uses many clips from different well-known movies in order to connect with the audience. Some of these include John Wayne movies, The Silent Enemy, and various other famous movies. These are movies most people know, and it captures the viewer’s attention, while simultaneously projecting the thesis. At one point there is a comparison between discrimination towards the blacks and discrimination towards the Natives. This is a superb film tool as it uses a notoriously well-known event, to educate people on a less-known yet similar event.

There is also a very symbolic scene where a Native stuntman is teaching what appears to be an apprentice, some of his techniques while on horseback. This is symbolic because it shows that he wants to make a change in the community, and keep an Indigenous population in Hollywood. The scene is also important as it shows that; contrary to popular belief, not all Natives are born knowing how to ride horse-back.

Conclusively, the use of interviews, raw/historical footage, comparing of events, and other conventions really aid in the display of the thesis. I can also say that this documentary is my favourite of the four watched in-class as I can relate to the different movies shown in the film.

Cgallant

Reference

Diamond, Neil, dir. Reel Injun. Prod. Catherine Bainbridge. 2009. Web. 9 Apr. 2015. <http://www.cbc.ca/player/Shows/Shows/The+Passionate+Eye/ID/1454400439/&gt;.

http://www.calvin.edu/library/knightcite/index.php

Are These Real Indians? My “Reel Injun” Reflection

My “We Were Children” Reflection

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From the opening scenes of a young Indigenous girl playing around her country home, to a man coming, and taking her away to a completely foreign place, I knew that this was going to be a saddening and dark documentary. The following scene includes the young girl previously seen, having her hair cut short by the nuns at the residential school. To me, this was a very strong scene as it shows how degrading these schools were, and just how desperate they were trying to erase the Native culture. The exaggerated “clipping” sound, works to amplify the importance of the scene immensely.

Throughout the remainder of the film there were various other sequences that really hit you emotionally, and aid greatly to display the thesis. A couple of these scenes include when the girl is forced to hold her tongue, and when Glen is punished for not speaking English. The film also makes use of great film conventions such as interviews, lighting, camera angles, and numerous others. A prime example of the film’s use of lighting is during the interviews, it is darkly lit. This is to symbolize that the topic is deep, intense, and dark.

    Overall, I believe We Were Children is a great film due to its excellent use of film techniques and conventions. This is a very informative movie for anyone wishing to further their understanding on residential schools.

Cgallant

References

Wolochatiuk, Tim, dir. We Were Children. Writ. Jason Sherman. 2012. Web. 9 Apr. 2015. <https://www.nfb.ca/film/we_were_children/trailer/we_were_children_trailer&gt;.

http://www.calvin.edu/library/knightcite/index.php

My “We Were Children” Reflection