Assimilation and Cultural Endurance: Colonizing the Family

“While church and government officials would have their differences, their overall commitment to civilizing and Christianizing Aboriginal children gave rise to an education system that emphasized the need to separate children from their culture, impose a new set of values and beliefs, provide a basic elementary education, and implant Europe’s emerging industrial work discipline” (Langevin, 2012, p. 16.)

The residential school period represents a highly contested, yet undeniably dark piece of Canadian history. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2012) has characterized the residential schools and the broader assimilation policies of the Canadian government as an “assault on families” (p. 11), and many writers, including Gresko (1979), Knockwood (1992), Smith (2001), Titley (1992), and Wilson (1986) agree that the residential schools were an explicit expression of the Government’s desire to assimilate all Native cultures that amounted to “an aggressive form of intercultural domination” (Smith, 2001, p. 60) which resulted in devastating and lasting emotional, psychological, economic, and cultural impacts on Canada’s Indigenous peoples (MacDonald, 2007; Smith, 2001). Continue reading

Can We Create Sustainable Evolution?

In a world full of disappearing species, is it possible that the ingenuity of humans could organize a system that allowed introduction of new species into a biome? While attempts at this have been disastrous in the past, can our current understanding foster a new system?

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Why We Shouldn’t Have a Referendum on Electoral Reform in Canada

The Conservative Party is doing its best to inflame the public into calling for a referendum on the issue of electoral reform. It may seem obvious that if the goal is to ensure better representation for Canada’s diverse public, why not just ask that public what it wants? Here are three reasons why this is problematic. Continue reading