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FALLEN FEATHER: Canada's Indian Residential Schools
"It is important for us to be reminded that the Residential Schools were all about the eradication of Indianess in the country. They were designed to do away with the Indian fact in the country. And to mould us into something that obviously we could never be." National Chief Phil Fontaine
Between 1879 and 1986, upwards of 100,000 children in Canada were forcibly removed and placed into Indian Industrial Residential Schools. Their unique culture was stripped away to be replaced with a foreign European identity. Their family ties were cut, parents were forbidden to visit their children, and the children were prevented from returning home.
First Nations children were the only children in Canadian History, to be singled out by race and forced to live in institutions; generation after generation.
ND Rosiers - President, Law Commission of Canada, 15 August 2001, Sydney, Australia
The Indian Agents and RCMP removed the children from their families and placed them within these schools as wards of the state.
Why were these walls built? Why were so many children corralled behind these bricks so far from home? Tens of thousands died of Tuberculosis and other ailments brought on by the grossly inadequate living standards. Families destroyed, generations lost. All to further the official policy of achieving a 'final solution' to what had been perceived as an 'Indian problem'. Department of Indian Affairs Superintendent D. C. Scott to B.C. Indian Agent-General Major D. McKay, 1910 April, DIA Archives, RG 10 series.
Pick up a paper today and the chances are there will be some reference to the First Nations condition.
Tens of thousands of cases of sexual and physical abuses. The Government has assumed partial responsibility for this historical wrong and has agreed to pay out Billions in damages. They agree that the assimilation of First Nations children within these Industrial Schools was a terrible mistake.
A mistake? The assimilation of First Nations wasn't a mistake; it was a plan.
The abuses that occurred within these Residential Schools were only symptoms of a greater problem. To focus on the obvious crime of physical and psychological abuse is to divert attention from the real story.
Land, This Land.
The Fallen Feather provides an in-depth critical analysis of the driving forces behind the creation of Canadian Indian Residential Schools.
Using historical source documents, survivors' personal testimonies, and detailed analysis from community leaders, the video explores in detail the Federal Government's primary motivation in the creation of these schools.
While examining the influences of Indian wars, Sir John A Macdonald's National Policy, Land Claims issues, the film details how all of these events and visions contributed to the development of these schools.
The film argues that the lasting effects that First Nations in Canada suffer today can be traced back directly to their experiences within these schools. Finally, we as Canadians are all challenged to re-examine our shared history.
*Includes 35-Page TEXT