“I am the red man,
I look at you white brother
And I say to you:
Save not me from sin and evil,
- Duke Redbird (Dunn, 1971: 1)
Canada is a vast territory widely recognised for the cultural and geographical diversity in nature. This poses a distinct challenge to understanding the Aboriginal Geographies of Canada, particularly the geographies of residential schools Canada. The Canadian Residential School System (RSS) was an early government led approach to Indigenous ‘development’. It was constructed educate the ‘uncivilised’ Aboriginal populations of Canada as a way to assimilate the Indigenous population into the colonial settler population. Space is a central aspect of understanding the world because it makes up the everyday environment in which we live. Therefore, as geographers we are interested in the people and objects that exist within space, their positions within space and how they interact. Place is another important aspect of understanding the world because it allows one to attach meanings and identities to space (Johnson: 2000). In this essay I will discuss the impacts of the residential school system on the Aboriginal peoples of Canada – paying particular attention to the Metis people of Canada. I will discuss how space and place are critical importance to mapping the geographies of the Canadian Residential School System. In conclusion, I suggest that the impacts of the Canadian Residential school system have had direct impacts on not only physical space, but also the places that have had diverse on both the identity and landscapes of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada.
Fig 1. Selected Characteristics: Aboriginal and Canadian total population, 1996.
Source: Geographies of Aboriginal people in Canada (Peters, 2001: 139).
The effect of the Residential School System on the Aboriginal peoples of is a direct concern of development within Canada. As considering the position of ethnic minorities who are consistently recognized as some of the poorest and most...