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Space Place Residential Schools Essay

1119 words - 5 pages

‘I want to get rid of the Indian problem. That is my whole point. Our objective is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic and there is no Indian question’
(Scott in Grant, 1996: 273).

Canada is a vast territory widely recognised for the cultural and geographical diversity in nature. This alone poses a distinct challenge to understanding a unified conception of Aboriginal Geographies of Canada - particularly for understanding the Geographies of The Canadian Residential Schools System (RSS). The Canadian Residential School System was an early government led approach to Indigenous ‘development’. It was initially ...view middle of the document...

The Canadian Residential school system is an Indigenous Development initiative led by the Canadian government. The programme lasted over 100 years, from around 1880 -1980, and during this time, it is estimated that 150,000 Metis, Inuit and First Nations people were removed from their communities and forced to attend the schools (CBC: 2014). The impacts of residential schools are diverse and far-reaching. They include, but are in no way limited to the displacement of children and their families, cultural genocide including the abolishment of languages, as well as physical and sexual abuse. This is not to say that the experience of residential schools was negative for all – some people claim to have learnt valuable skills in the English language, were well fed (at least better people who remained on the reserve, despite having whippings nearly every night) (Grant, 1996: 273).
Space is a central aspect of understanding the world because it makes up the everyday environment in which one lives. Therefore, as geographers we are interested in the people and objects that exist within space, their positions within space and how they interact. ‘Space is not simply formed and moulded, but plays an active role in the formation of society’ (Cresswell, 1996: 12). For example, the physical geographies of residential schools in Canada highly effect their interaction with the land and accessibility to the knowledge that shape Aboriginal spaces and places. Space and place are two interlinked and fundamental concepts to geography. Place is an important aspect of understanding the world because it allows one to attach meanings and identities to space (Johnson: 2000). As ones position in the world isn’t only construed of the physical space, but it is also attached to the experiences we attach to different places. This is important, because different people attach different meanings to place and so forth. This is important as it allows one to interpret the world as not only made up of physical objects, but also the meanings and symbols of lived experiences (Godkin, 1980). Particularly, places can have very different meanings for different people in relation to their culture. Therefore, it is vital to understanding the diverse viewpoints of different peoples and their way of understanding the world. This is central because place is often perceived in an entirely different ways from one group to another. For example, the for the Aboriginal peoples of Canada, residential schools dis[place]d...

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