Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Column: How not to teach Canadian history

By only seeing First Nations communities in images like the one below, we've created a very narrow narrative about their culture and contribution. I've written a column on the lack of Aboriginal history and story in Canadian education. You can go directly to the article by clicking here.

How not to teach Canadian history 
Putting Canada's real aboriginal story, and others too, in school curriculums 

Uncivilized. Primitive. Inferior. Apparently, that is what the rest of us Canadians think of First Nations' people. I am not sure that is entirely the case but that at least is what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reported last month after hearing the testimonies of many of those native people who went through the now discredited residential school system. 

One thing for sure, most of us newer Canadians had probably never heard of the controversial residential school system until that boil was lanced a few years ago, and the federal government offered a formal apology and established the reconciliation commission to help chart a new future. 

Most Canadians, I'd hazard a guess, had never realized that between the 1840s and 1996, more than 150,000 First Nation, Inuit, aboriginal and Metis children were taken from their families by law and shipped to the residential schools, the majority of them against their will. 

We were never really aware of the long history of emotional, physical and, sometimes, sexual abuse that confronted so many of these children, causing a long ripple of destructive behaviour within the aboriginal community, which they, and the rest of us, don't know how to fix. But, how would we know how to fix a problem that we didn't really know existed, at least to the extent that we do now? 

To read the rest of this article, click here.


  1. wow thank you for writing this post and sharing that article, it really was enlightening!

  2. I'm Canadian and I hadn't heard about the residential schools until a few years ago. It's heartbreaking to think of all those kids being separated from their families. I remember hearing some of their stories on CBC. Thanks for shedding light on this. I hope it becomes part of the curriculum. I love Canada but it has a sad history too.


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