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The First Nations Essay

2024 words - 8 pages

Bryan Weiss Scott Masters Politics 11 Sunday, Febuary 4 2001 The First Nations Throughout time, Native Americans have struggled to maintain a keen sense of individuality as their culture has always been threatened by the superior and dominant white man. They have been subjected to discrimination of all forms and this has relegated them to the bottom of Canadian society. They are viewed as second-class citizens and treated with little or no respect. Native children have been subjected to poor education practices and have consequently suffered. Teachings that fail to recognize the contributions of the native people to Canadian society have caused many children to lose sight of their identities, history and spiritual knowledge. Various native communities including the James Bay Cree have been pushed off of their traditionally aboriginal land. In this specific case a massive hydroelectric development project destroyed the land making it merely impossible for the Cree to carry out their traditional way of life. As well, the Europeans have influenced native religion and culture and this has taken a great deal away from their conventional way of life. It is imperative that the Natives of North America unite to reject European culture and its effects as a continued impact could destroy Native culture. Therefore, community involvement and self-determination is crucial to the survival and community security of the Native people.One of the crucial destructive forces has been that of schooling. "The education provided to Indians by the government of Canada and its colonial predecessor governments has been an important element of an overall policy of assimilation. It has been a means of seeking to modify the values of the Indian nations through those who are weakest and can offer the least resistance, the children. Education has worked with the long-term objective of weakening Indian nations through causing children to lose sight of their identities, history and spiritual knowledge."1 It is therefore imperative that the minds of young native children be shaped and conditioned by native teachers. It is the responsibility of these educators to bond with the students and expose them to thought patterns and information that welcomes and praises their traditionally native culture and heritage. In doing so, one can hope to instill a keen sense of native identity in the minds of these young individuals. In contemporary society indigenous people view educational institutions as sites for constructing or reconstructing their own identity. However, low standards of federal schooling for Natives caused the people to push for an end to segregation in the schools.2 They felt as though it would be beneficial to remove their native children from segregated schools in order to preserve their culture and pride. A white- education has little or no importance to a native child as it fails to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of native people to Canadian...

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