Indigenous Aboriginal Education did not mainly focus

Indigenous People are a unique group of people who, from the beginning of their culture have stuck together and created ways to survive independently. This group of people was not seen as the most prestigious, but still knew how to find ways to survive, and efficiently live life to the fullest. Whether that be through hunting, sharing cultural traditions or through education, Aboriginal people always had a way to get things done. Indigenous people have endured abuse and mistreatment by the harm of the European’s who took advantage of this peaceful group of people for power and greed. Aboriginal people have had a long history filled with triumph and hurt through their education and health impacting them in the past, present, and continuing into the future. Traditional Aboriginal Education did not mainly focus on the literate part of understanding, but rather signified beliefs, values, and morals the children would need as they entered into adulthood  (McCue, n.d). The main ways that these practices would be taught to the children was through observation and practice. Methods would be shown to the children, and they would have to observe these training methods and recite them back to the leader training them. An example of this would be hunting. The boys would be shown how to catch and kill an animal from an elder or parent, once they felt that the child had observed enough to practice on their own, then they would let them practice the technique. Another way that skills were taught was through oral teachings. Mainly taught by elders, who were viewed as the wisest people in the tribe. The elders would share stories about the “Creator” and of how things came to be in the world. These stories were told to have been passed down from the generation before, and the children were to learn these stories perfectly until they knew how to recite them back. Once perfection was attained they were told that they would one day pass these stories to the generation after them. Lastly, the children were taught through cultural traditions and community gatherings. (McCue n.d) Moving into traditional aboriginal health, the Aboriginal people firmly believed in the prevention of illness and focused on ways to ensure that one was safe and would not become sick or injured. Many of these practices were done through “avoiding specific foods, obeying cultural perceptions, stay away from other individuals property, avoiding prohibited sacred sights, and controlling anger jealousy and violence.” (Maher, 2002) However if an individual did become sick, there would be strategies to help and treat the illness or injury including bush medicine, traditional singing or chanting, traditional healers, and external remedies. (Maher, 2002)Another main view of health shown by Aboriginal people was through the “Medicine Wheel,” and living a Holistic Lifestyle. (Dapice, 2006). This wheel was illustrated as a circle and divided into four main parts: mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual, and through these four dimensions, they are all interconnected. (Dapice, 2006). The belief is that in order for an individual to attain well-being, one must have a healthy balance of these four aspects in their life (Dapice, 2006). However, this belief and way of lifestyle were slowly altered and entirely changed once colonialism and the assimilation of the Europeans forced their lifestyle and beliefs onto the Aboriginal people. The Europeans wanted to control and to take over the Indigenous people in many ways. They tried to control the children and make them into the way that they wanted them to be. The idea was to take the “Indian” out of the child. This approach and mistreatment of the children were shown through the way the Europeans took advantage of the Indigenous people. They brought them sickness, took their children away, and ultimately intruded onto their land without permission.  Beginning with the alteration of education, the Canadian Government felt as though the Aboriginal people were not living a healthy life and were in need of guidance. To eliminate this thought Prime Minister Sir John A MacDonald set up the “Indian Act” in 1920, stating that every Indian child, was to attend Residential schools that were run by the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches who had a connection to the Federal Government for support. (Maher, 2002) Residential schools operated under a half-day system where the kids would learn in school for half the day, and the other half they would be put to labour work. The reasoning for this that was placed in their minds was that you would need to work in the future to earn a living. However, the real reason for this is that the government did not adequately fund the schools enough to run, so the kids would be put to work to make the funding of the institution as least expensive as possible. (Miller n.d) The teachers were unprepared for their lessons, and they were often taught in French or English, which many of the students did not know how to speak, resulting in the inability to learn fully.Life in Residential schools was filled with abuse and torment to an Indigenous child. Racism was shown towards the children in numerous ways and taught them that who they were and their culture was not good enough and it was something that they should not be proud to call themselves. The kids were faced with all kinds of abuse through physical, sexual, emotional, and spiritual abuse repetitively. As shared in a journal by Jennifer Reid, “The children were cut off from their families and culture and made to speak English. They were disciplined by corporal punishment. Some, like the appellant Mr. Barney, were repeatedly and brutally sexually assaulted” (Reid, J, 2015, pg. 452).Upon arrival at the schools, the children were isolated immediately, and the nuns would make sure that the child would not have any relation with a family member to keep the idea of loneliness and independence in the mind of the young one. This was tragic because the kids around them were strangers and when the hurt and pain would arise amongst the kids, they would have no one to turn to, and the adult who was supposed to take care of them was the source of all of the abuse (Loyie, Spear, and Brissenden, 2014). The kids were also given numbers to substitute for their names. The school’s reasoning for this was that they would be able to organize them better if they were given numbers, but the real rationale behind this was to take the significance away from the child and make them into less of a person (Loyie, Spear, and Brissenden, 2014,). By doing all of these actions, they stripped away any value or worth that the child held in their life and made them into someone who they wanted them to be and left the child with no self-confidence or self-worth to fight for themselves. (Loyie, Spear, and Brissenden, 2014)Two types of abuse that were shown to the children often: these, were physical and emotional. If a child were to break a rule or be disobedient, they would receive an extreme punishment from one of the nuns. These disciplines were done through the beating of a child with a rod until evidence of severe injury was shown. If the child was very disobedient, such things as placing them in an ice bath or making them stand outside in the cold winters were done as a way to torture them to ensure that they did not disobey again. To tie along with the emotional abuse, racist names were used towards the Aboriginal kids like “squaw” or “savages.” They would continually call the kids these names and make them feel degraded and inferior to white people (Loyie, Spear, and Brissenden, 2014). Physical and emotional abuse were most common in these schools, but sexual harassment must not go unforgotten. “Sexual abuse was a hidden crime that took place behind closed doors” (Loyie, Spear, and Brissenden, 2014). Much of the sexual abuse was done to the children behind closed doors and was done in secret. With the children being so isolated and away from their families, it made it easy for the sexual abuser to get away with the act that they were doing. Not only was it a common thing that happened in the school, but the children would be threatened if they would speak about this to anyone.        When the children arrived at the school, they all came from a culture or a group of people that had a similar religion to the one they possessed. Having this belief in common with many of the other children around them, this is one thing that all the kids knew they had to connect them as one. Although they did not believe in the same thing, they all had a belief in a common god, and this was their “Creator.” The Catholic church knew this and made it so that the children would renounce their god, and follow what the church believed. Not only did they make them deny their belief, but if they even prayed, tried to pray or practiced any of their cultural norms, they would be beaten severely, and the child would be put through torment (Loyie, Spear, and Brissenden, 2014).        Many of the kids at these schools would not last long and would die of the infectious disease and unhealthy sanitization of the institutions, because of inadequate health measures. As H.P Bryce found at one of the schools that “seventy-five percent of the children at File Hills were dead at the end of the sixteen years since the school opened” (Loyie, Spear, and Brissenden, 2014). The children were also not fed well, and this resulted in malnourishment, placing them at risk for tuberculosis or influenza.Modern day education rights for First Nations people have shifted drastically due to the past events that occurred in Residential schools. These implementations have given light to Aboriginal students seeking a higher education to benefit them for their future. Programs such as “Post Secondary Student Support Program” have been placed to provide First Nation or Inuit students with financial aid to ensure they are ready to be successful in their future career (“Post Secondary Education,” 2017). Not only have these rights benefitted the younger generation of people, but it has also had an extremely positive reaction from the older generation who have attended Residential schools. It is positive for them to see that change is being made and that the schooling system has realized that Aboriginal people were placed in torment, and by implementing advantages for this culture, it will help to aid some of the hurt from the past.Before assimilation from the Europeans, Indigenous people followed and valued their cultural customs and beliefs. Referring to the Charter and Constitution Act of 1982, in section 25 and 35, “Indigenous people are allowed to preserve traditional customs and sacred traditions” (Ontario Human Rights Commission, n.d.). Enabling this law and putting it back into place allows Aboriginal people to practice their traditions and bring back cultural practices which were once stripped away from them. This impacts their health because they are now allowed to freely practice things that they had earlier in the past done through prayers, healings, and other cultural norms. Some of the practices that have been brought back are pow-wows, sacred dances/cultural rituals, prayers, and other forms of spiritual interaction through the Medicine Wheel or Harvest Feasts. (Ontario Human Rights Commission, n.d.). Having this type of positive impact from Canada as a country has brought light and positivity to the First Nation communities across Canada. An increase in healthy living has increased due to this, and it has impacted the culture tremendously.Although the past will never be forgotten, an evident change has been made to the view and treatment of First Nations people by Canada as a country. As a nation which is known to be peaceful and compromising, treaties have been put into place to aid in reconciling the pain that was endured in the past as a way to provide justice to the harm that was done to an innocent culture. Although this may all seem right, our country cannot stop here and believe a lie that the past has all been changed and that everything is righted. Our country needs to realize that these treaties are a start to the healing process and that more needs to be done to reconcile with the First Nations people over what was taken from them. However the negligence of some Canadian people still arises, and the idea of Aboriginal people getting extra privilege or benefits hardens in the hearts of many individuals. People need to realize that for some of these individuals their lives were taken away from them, and they will never be able to regain all of those years that were stolen from them. They were taken away from their families and place in an institution that took their culture away from them. Not only that, but they were forced to believe that just one race was right and that they were nothing unless they acted white and the “Indian” was taken out of them. This is a painful fact and is something that unfortunately cannot be altered. However, as a country, we can help to provide for the future generations and show them justice to be able to regain their identity as a group of people and feel proud to call themselves Indigenous people. As stated by the Ontario Human Rights Commision of Canada, ” Because of one simple fact: when Europeans arrived in North America, Aboriginal peoples were already here, living in communities on the land, and participating in distinctive cultures, as they had done for centuries. It is this fact, and this fact above all others, which separates aboriginal peoples from all other minority groups in Canadian society and which mandates their special legal, and now constitutional, status.” (Ontario Human Rights Commission, n.d.). This statement is a reminder to everyone who chooses to call themselves a Canadian that the rightful owners of Modern day Canada are indeed the Indigenous people. Aboriginal people do deserve to be placed on a higher pedestal, and that is simply because of the way they have been treated in the past. Canada can restore forgiveness and have a healthy connection with this group of people once again, but this will only happen once complete compliance and agreement occur on both sides.