Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Contemporary Aboriginal Issues

First Nations in Canada face ongoing challenges related to justice, land, equity, and the legacy of residential schools. Within these challenges are the same themes as our course: identity, economy, environment, politics, autonomy, etc.  We have explored these issues in class, sometimes in details and sometimes in the context of other topics.

Here is a chance to explore one or more on your own.  Please choose an option below and respond with a comment.  Your comment can simply be about what you learned from exploring this issue.  Think of it like a paragraph response -- probably best to type it up first then pasted it in to the comment section.

Option 1: Land
Reference: Oka Crisis Remembered: http://www.cbc.ca/firsthand/episodes/the-oka-legacy -- articel and video. You can also find other references with a quick search -- perhaps look for other viewpoints on the Oka Crisis.

Option 2: Residential Schools
Reference: Where are the Children: http://www.cbc.ca/firsthand/episodes/the-oka-legacy -- lots to work with here, including video testimonies of residential school survivors. Warning: potentially disturbing content


  1. I think the Oka Crisis shouldn't have happened. They created a war over a golf course expansion. It shows how little people cared for the aboriginal people. If they gave up on trying to expand the gold course they could've prevented a war. I think this is the kind of thing that makes Canada's look bad. It's unbelievable of how racist people were.

  2. Personally, I think it's sad that the aftermath of the Oka Crisis impacted so many people, especially the Aboriginals. Their community was falling a part because of the ethnic split, and I think that it is completely outrageous because this happened all because of wanting an expansion of a golf course. This event really shows how much people disregarded the tradition and culture of the First Nations. The fact that the Mayor was willing to expand the golf course through their ancestors' graves is terrible.

  3. Its these kind of issues that happen that make you wonder how people can be so cruel, unreasonable, and racist. And to think it started because they wanted to expand a golf course, and wouldn't except that the land might be very important to others. Why cant people just except that they cant have everything their way all the time. I think there should be more protection over aboriginal land and sacred areas so the land cannot be destroyed.
    - Sabrina

  4. The tragedy of the Oka Crisis had a very negative impact on Aboriginals. White culture does not really need another golf course and they should have realized that.

  5. I think that the Oka Crisis was a very sad thing that happened. It may have just been an expansion of a golf course but to the Aboriginals it was a big deal because it was about to be built on top of a barrel zone for their culture. When the Aboriginals but up a barricade it was just showing that they wanted to claim the land that should have been theirs. because of this the one death of the police officer shouldn't have happened, overall it should have been delt differently.

  6. I watched a few videos on the residential schools. One of the residential schools that was talked about was St. Andrew's Anglican Mission school. The lady talking about it said it was better than some other residential schools, and there was no mention of abuse. Their parents were allowed to visit every Saturday, and they were allowed to go home for 2 months in the summer. All of the older girls had to take care of everyone, do all the cooking, cleaning, and housework for the staff and the other girls as well. This life was much better than the one in St. Michael's Indian Residential School. The lady talking about it described her first night as tragic and stressful, and described the school and her experience as "horrible" and "a nightmare institution". All of the students were abused. Young girls would be taken from their dorms in odd hours of the night, usually around midnight, and you could hear them cry for help. It would be hard on the other girls to see the sexually abused one crying in the bathroom. Those who tried to stand up for the other girls were constantly punished and whipped. Supervisors told the other girls to do whatever they wanted to specific kids that they did not like. Life was so horrible that they tried to run away, however they quickly realised that was impossible to do on an island. This particular girl was sexually assaulted by an RCMP officer that night, and spent half of her lifetime keeping that experience secret. She is just now trying to sue the man who did it. She is only 63 now, and most of the friends she made in that school are now dead. It is absolutely horrible that any normal person could abuse children like this, and not realise what they are doing is wrong. It is also surprising that there are survivors from these residential schools. I cannot imagine how hard it would be to live carrying the weight of what those terrible people did to you.

  7. the oka crisis looked very bad for the indians in my opinion they started a armed battle over a golf course. they couldve taken it to court or something and if they couldnt prove they have rights over the land then thats that

  8. The residential school system was a horrible decision that the government will never be able to apologize enough for. Although not every aboriginal child had a terrible experience, it is something that will continue to haunt not only the survivors of the schools but also their families as well as the aboriginal culture. It showed just how much aboriginal culture was disrespected and seen as something bad, not something amazing like it truly is. It is so awful that those kids had to go through the physical and emotional abuse that they did and i can't imagine how traumatic it was for the parents having their kids ripped from their lives for many years at a time. I cannot imagine the amount of grief that those survivors have and will have for the rest of their lives. - Ciara

  9. It's hard to believe the residential school system was real and actually happened. Trying to take people's traditions and religion away to assimilate them to your ways is wrong and never should happen again. It's sad to see the way the aboriginals were treated, even though not everyone had a terrible experience, or at least it wasn't as bad as other people's experience. It's great they have ways and programs to help survivors get their story out and tell the truth about the residential schools. - Jordan A

  10. The Oka Crisis could have easily been prevented if the government had backed off with the land pursuit when resistance was met. but Garrets comment is interesting, people need to stop victimizing aboriginal people and blaming Caucasians. it was a negative time for all, but both sides took some part in making it an armed standoff.