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Aboriginals and Victimology

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SOC 201
Barry Mc Clinchey

Aboriginals and Victimology Victims of State Policy and Power - Aboriginal, “Indian” residential schools in the U.S. and Canada - Residential schools designed to destroy an entire culture – assimilating Aboriginals - Based on Ward Churchill’s “Kill the Indian, Save the Man” (2004) o Get rid of the Indian in the children and assimilate them into Christians so that they can have souls and be saved - By around 1885, the western territories in Canada and the U.S. were secured o “Winning the war against Indians/Aboriginals” - Both states looked to securing the land and moving the Anglicized system of individual property - Policies were developed to: o Supplant the traditional mode of defining group members by genealogy (kinship) o Prohibit spiritual practices by compelling Christianity o Disperse native populations as widely as possible o Reshape traditional modes of governance - An initiative began in both U.S. and Canada in the 1870s to accomplish these goals o The development of residential schools was endured for almost 100 years – (last school closed in Saskatchewan, 1996) o Forcefully took children away with use of RCMP and church officials o Removing children from their families (ages 7-16) – far from their home o No family structure or family contact/communication o Lost all connection to their home community o Removing all familiar aspects of their culture - Canada o Aboriginal children were to be held for years in state-sponsored “educational facilities” and systematically be decultured, which were held by Roman Catholic and Anglican churches o Children were taught to see themselves in terms of the dominant society o Called residential schools, in the U.S. they were called boarding schools - The head of the U.S. boarding school was Captain Richard Henry Pratt in 1879 - Pratt was an army captain and was once the warden of Fort Marion military prison - Pratt was also the superintendent of the Indian Industrial School at Carlisle, Penn - After opening the model school in Carlisle, Pratt was able to resign his military commission and devote his time to “educating” the Indians - The overall objective of federal school system: “to kill the Indian, save the man”  cultural genocide - Pratt developed successful techniques for: o “ideological conversion” o Prison industries which would become profit-making ventures  Boys were used for labour and given daily quota (i.e. gathering wood)  “free labour”  Canada didn’t do this - Many American “boarding schools” were modeled after his prison concepts - Canada: 50,000 Aboriginal children died (1/3 of people in residential schools) - In order to accomplish their tasks/goals of the schools, the Canadian government used strategies: o Mandatory attendance o Most were run by church organizations (gov’t provided funding)  Teaching them normative religious values and marketable skills o Followed the mind-control strategies (systematic) developed by Pratt
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