It has been found that for more than a century, the aboriginal children were taken forcefully away from their families and admitted to the residential schools. Being assimilated to the white society these children were not even permitted to speak their language and tortured by the higher authorities of the schools. The schools were mostly handled by the Roman Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist and United churches. The torture they suffered from gave res to the mental emotional distress and even disorder. According to Short (2016), there were diseases like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), anxiety disorder, major depression, criminal disorder, borderline personality, suicidal attempts and many others. The ‘Truth and Reconciliation commission urges the different levels of government to work together and promote reconciliation. In the year 2015, the truth and reconciliation commission declared a final report on the history and legacy of Canada’s residential school system.
The report provides a detailed description on the incident that happened to the indigenous students who suffered from the physical and sexual harassment in the government schools. In the government boarding schools an estimate of 3,200 children ended up dying out of tuberculosis and other diseases such as tuberculosis because of the poor condition they lived in (Sinclair, 2016). The truth and reconciliation commission report recognizes the growing crisis in the youth of the indigenous community. The commission released 94 ‘calls to action ‘and requested all levels of the government including the federal, territorial, provincial and aboriginal to come together and work in order to change the policies with a serious effort. This is requested in order to reconcile or repair the harm initiated by the residential schools and build a better future.
According to the Truth and Reconciliation Report, it is nothing but the ‘cultural genocide’. The collective version of all the recommendations to the issues is known as the ‘call to action ‘. The calls to action starts from the call to the Pope to apologize in Canada. It also comprises of calls to the medical and nursing schools to take part in the history and legacy of the residential schools. The 94 calls to action is divided in two parts. The headings are named as ‘legacy’ and ‘reconciliation’ as informed by Maddison, Clark & De Costa, (2016). The Legacy calls are needed when experiences are related to the commission, hearing occur. It also includes child welfare, language, education, justice, health and culture. On the other hand, the reconciliation calls are more detailed which can lead to reconciliation between the Canadian people and the aboriginal people if implemented properly.
I believe that the government’s promise to implement these recommendations is less important and less fruitful than the actual implementation of the recommendations. First of all, as a Canadian by nationality, I will use ‘education’ for reconciliation among the communities in my country. According to the truth and reconciliation commission, the government of Canada will be called upon to establish a joint strategy in order to reduce the literacy and employment gaps that is present between the aboriginal and the non-aboriginal residents of Canada. Following the view of Rossiter & Burke Wood (2017), the federal government will also be called to avoid the discrepancy in the educational funding between those students who are educated on reserves and those who are educated off reserves. The annual reports have to be published to compare the educational and income status of the aboriginals and the non-aboriginals. A new aboriginal draft has to be prepared regarding the aboriginal education legislation with full consent of the aboriginal community. Those aboriginal students who want higher studies will be facilitated by the funding of the federal government when called upon. Early childhood education programs also have to be developed for the aboriginal families across Canada.
The next call of action that I will use to improve the situation of my country/ society is language and culture. The federal government will be called upon to acknowledge that the aboriginal rights include the aboriginal language rights too. An aboriginal language commissioner also needs to be appointed so that everything is followed up properly. The post –secondary institutes will be requested to establish degree and diploma programs in the aboriginal variety of languages. As per the view of Denis & Bailey(2016), the families of the survivors will be supported to reclaim their name and identity that had been changed by the schools. There has to be a revision of the documents such as the birth certificates, passports, health cards and the insurance numbers too.
The last call for action that will be used by me is child welfare. In order to ensure the child welfare of the aboriginal community, the all the federal, aboriginal, provincial and territorial government will be called upon to publish reports so that the under care aboriginal children can be counted in numbers and compared to the non-aboriginal children as suggested by Mitchell, (2016). The child care agencies will be put to take care of the aboriginal children effectively. An implementation of the Jordan’s principle is also needed for enabling the child –welfare legislation that builds few strict standards for the child custody cases in the aboriginal communities. There is also necessity of developing culturally appropriate parenting programs for the families in the aboriginal communities.
While implementing the calls of action in my society or workplace, I might face difficulties such as not getting sufficient support from the government I am expecting and other members of the society. In order to implement these calls for action to reduce the discrepancy and inequality, I will need a good amount of funding and legal support. It I implement these strategies in my workplace where I have seen cultural and racial diversity that can affect the work environment up to greater extent.
In case I had all the resources available , In order to overcome the challenges that might come across while implementing the strategies to reduce discrimination, inequality and harassment in the workplace, I would have requested and convinced the management to revise the recruiting process and the employee hiring process so that it becomes bias –free and all –inclusive irrespective of their cultural or racial backgrounds I would have suggested the that the language gaps can be reduced by communication and language trainings at regular intervals. The diversity and sensitivity trainings also can be arranged to encourage the employees to be tolerant towards other race and cultures. Keeping in mind that the appearance, attitudes and accents, they must be accepted by others and respected too. The aboriginal culture is a treasure of Australia and needs to be treated with care and sensitivity. Through the help of the legacies in the calls to action section as declared by the truth and reconciliation commission will be highly helpful to bring forward a community that has been lost in the darks of the dense forests. They must be treated as humans with all efforts to raise them socially and academically. The reconciliation can erase the discrimination between the white Canadians and the indigenous people and form a bight society for tomorrow.
Denis, J. S., & Bailey, K. A. (2016). ‘You Can’t Have Reconciliation Without Justice’: How Non-Indigenous Participants in Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Process Understand Their Roles and Goals. In The Limits of Settler Colonial Reconciliation (pp. 137-158). Springer, Singapore.
Maddison, S., Clark, T., & De Costa, R. (Eds.). (2016). The limits of settler colonial reconciliation: Non-Indigenous people and the responsibility to engage. Springer.
Mitchell, T. (2016). Colonial 10 Trauma and Political Pathways to Healing. Indigenous Cultures and Mental Health Counselling: Four Directions for Integration with Counselling Psychology, 141.
Rossiter, D., & Burke Wood, P. (2017). The politics of Aboriginal title in British Columbia: from the Referendum to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Short, D. (2016). Reconciliation and colonial power: Indigenous rights in Australia. Routledge.
Sinclair, R. (2016). The Indigenous Child Removal System in Canada: An examination of legal decision-making and racial bias. First Peoples Child & Family Review, 11(2), 8-18.