The Genocide Question

A genocide is the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation. When I look at the this definition and reflect about the knowledge I have about residential schools, what John A Macdonald did to first nations people can and should be classified as a genocide. As recently talked about in the news, Canada’s new Human Rights Museum in Ottawa has refused to refer to use the word genocide in relation to the way Aboriginal Peoples were treated in residential schools. Herald Opinions states, “No such apology has been afforded the First Nations, except an insincere one about residential schools offered – but never acted on”. What has been done cannot be changed; however, acknowledging our wrong and working to try and build a better relationship with the people that own the land we walk on should not only be expected but should have happened years ago. Macdonald committed a genocide and what has been done to try and fix that has been close to nothing. As citizens of our country they are required to have equal rights and our country as a whole should have the common decency to grant those rights respectfully and whole heartedly.

With this being said, there are still many people and leaders in Canada that believe the opposite. The Canadian government believed that it was their responsibility  to educate and take care of the aboriginal peoples. The government thought that the best thing to do for the indigenous peoples were to teach them English or French and allow them to adopt the religion, Christianity. So what went wrong? Children were taught English or French and if caught speaking their heritage language they were severely punished. The idea was to completely deminsh the aboriginal culture and “kill the Indian in the child”. Furthermore, the severe punishment lead to killing children and severely abusing them both mentally and physically. This lead to trying to completely wipe away the aboriginal culture and nation. After all this, Canada still believes that what they did should not be classified as a genocide. However, Adam Muller, a genocide expert from the University of Manitoba from Popular Resistance states “It’s a shame. I think the museum needs to be a leader, not a follower on this,” you look at colonial activity in the Americas and it seems clear to me, at the end of the day, they were trying to destroy a group and way of life.” How do we come together as a nation and as citizen when our leaders can’t see the damage our country created for hundreds of Aboriginal Peoples. Will we ever?

With the last school closing in 1996, about 150 000 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children had been taken away from their homes and put into residential schools. The students lived in very poor conditions and were abused physically and emotionally. A child that young deserves to live a life where they can experience and enjoy their childhood; however, children at residential schools were rarely exposed to a “normal life”. They were in school for at least 10 months of the year with no contact with their parents. Letters written to parents were scribed in English so the parents couldn’t understand them as well as, siblings in the same school were also separated since all activities were segregated by gender. To live and be apart of such traumatizing experiences as a child is completely unfair and wrong. Why should someone be faulted for their beliefs and religion? We live in a society today where citizens of the earth are still beaten and punished for not believing the “right” thing. For example, ISIS has constructed religious views and beliefs that they impose on people. They force people of different religions who are living in the Islamic State to adopt and believe their religious views. Like the residential schools, ISIS imposes their views in a very violent way where their abuse is evident to those who refuse to follow their views. I am aware that ISIS is a much more extreme case and although these cases aren’t identical, ISIS still resembles the way the residential schools functioned and worked. By striping people of their religion and beliefs and forcing their own religious views on many citizens as well as physically and emotionally abusing them in implemnting the “right” views and beliefs. In my opinion, there are no right or wrong views. Religion is a personal belief and should not be the reason of punishment or death because no where in the bible, Qur’an, or any other religious script states that using religion for a reason to kill is acceptable. Will this hatred ever end? Will equality ever fully exist? It is unfortunate that these questions and thoughts are still brought up in our lives today; however, it is the sad reality that we live in and will just have to accept for years to come.

B2: Document of Learning

During the last couple weeks of this term, Social Studies has really caught my attention and interest in the topic that we are currently learning about, the Indian Act. This right here has got to be one of the most revolting things that I have ever heard a country do and the more and more I learn the more and more I find it hard to believe. As I have mentioned in class before, most if not all countries have had a rough past so I shouldn’t really find it hard to believe; however, the thing I find shocking is that it is never talked about. We Canadians go about our days as if nothing like that even ever occurred and to think the last residential school was only shut down in 1996.

When I think about all the things that draw me into this topic I think about the shock factor number 1 but also why was “killing the indian in the child” the target? Why was that Canada’s way of dealing with the Aboriginal Peoples? The British ruled and controlled the schools and everything that happened which has been the main theme in respect to our past units. During the Canadian Confederation, the British ruled everything and everyone. Yes, the French rebelled and so did the tribes but the British ultimately controlled most of it until Canada finally became a dominion and allowed the French with their rights. If we look back on all the rebellions and debates that went on during that time we can easily say that the British dominated majority defeating Papineau’s and Mckenzie’s rebellion in a matter of days.

This unit has been anything but boring. I find myself constantly wanting to more about our country’s history and all the details behind it. It has all been interesting to me but if I were to put my finger on one thing it would be the torture. Now this is not because I think that it was the right thing to do to the children but because it something that is hidden in Canadian history and society. If we think about USA and all their history we can easily name 2-3 things that has happened in regards to the United States. Examples include: the war with Iraq, 911, president assassinations, etc. Personally from my family, Iraq is also another country that has had a rough history with Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, the Gulf War, and the war with United States. The questions I have with those examples are why are we never talked about? I know we didn’t necessarily partake in Wars and extreme violence but it doesn’t make what we did right. Doesn’t it all make us the same? Aren’t we all just as bad as one another? I find it disgusting that this type of act and behaviour is under Canada’s name but what’s done is done so why aren’t we learning about this and raising awareness. Citizens of our country think that the Aboriginal Peoples get all their benefits because “they had the land first” no one is informed that yes they had the land first but they were also tortured and killed before any benefits were given. It’s important for us to realize why our country functions in the way it does and to take that information and make sure we do good with it as we are the future of the Country.

I hope to continue my research about this topic and ask more questions in class, I know I might not get all the answers I am looking for; however, I’ll be closer. Then, when I start to generate more ideas and questions off my previous questions I know I have answered my questions. Moreover, I want to know why? I know it is a vague question but, I want to know why the need for this type of torture? Why are we not faulted for our past? Why are we still looked upon as the one of the nicest nations out there? All relevant questions that I hope to learn more about and answer within the next few months of Social Studies 10.

Last, this PLO and unit of study relate to other areas of the curriculum in PLO’s A1, A2, and A3. We have worked with all these PLO’s during class when talking about the Indian Act with the constant questioning, and critical thinking. We have also expressed our thoughts on paper with mind maps, flow charts, or notes, which all meet the PLO’s of A1, 2, and 3. I also think that PLO B1 has a connection to do with our current unit of study in the way of the government’s role in forcing innocent kids and their families to undergo such traumatizing torture.

To conclude, I am excited and interested to learn more about the Indian Act and Canadian history as well as, finding as many answers as I can to as many questions as possible. Thanks for reading! Until next time :)

In-Depth Blog Post #7

Wow 3 weeks until the big night! I can hardly believe it. Everyone’s hard work is finally about to be showcased in front of parents and students to see. I personally cannot wait for in-depth night and what emotions it will bring me. Like Night of the Notables, I hope it is one of the most rewarding feelings I’ve had in a while … academically. I usually feel them when I play soccer but not as much in the classroom that is why I’m ready for the night and am eager to see what it brings to us. It’s about time for everyone to just show off what they got and amaze us all as per usual and I cannot wait until in-depth night arrives so that I can share that success with my peers.

Over the past few weeks I’ve really been cramming and working hard in trying to grasp and understand as many concepts as I can. Concepts such as mastering the nuqta, memorizing and understanding the orientation of letters in words, and just getting more used to the flow of the writing style. Yes, it can definitely be difficult at times but that is the only way to get better. When I push myself in something I am passionate about I strive and put all my energy into it. I have loved everything about my In-depth this year but I mostly enjoy that it is different from my regular routine. Usually it’s school, soccer, school, soccer but with Arabic classes I can almost turn my mind off all of those things and just relax and really embrace what I am learning at the moment. It’s been a great journey thus far with my mentor, Maysa and I couldn’t be more thankful for her.

This week I decided to touch on De Bono’s points about interruption and attitude. Now thinking about my personality I know that when I have something to say I want to shout it out right away before I lose my train of thought. So with that being said, I have definitely interrupted our conversations before, however, it isn’t a rude interruption. She was teaching me about the letters and a question popped into my mind so I asked right away cutting her off. I know that can get annoying at times, but, I know that Maysa knows its only because I want to learn more in a shorter amount of time; therefore, it was justified because the question I asked was relevant and useful to my learning. She later resumed her thought after answering my question. Next I’ll talk about attitude. Now attitude plays a huge role in my life whether it be in school, sports, or family. It’s always important to have a positive outlook on everything so that you can take everything that you take on and finish and perform to the best of your ability. Obviously that is not always how things may be. You may be having a bad day and things might not be going your way and that perfectly fine … everyone has those days; however, it’s how you bounce back that defines your personality and character. Furthermore, I think I portray more of the explorer attitude whereas Maysa portrays more of the constructive attitude. I think this because I am constantly asking question and wondering about new concepts to learn and she always lets me go above and beyond what I need yet in a constructive manner. She never hesitates to tell me when I’m wrong and it’s something that I’ll always appreciate because that is the only reason why I have had so much success.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see y’all soon :)