Kent Monkman is brilliant.
I remember when I first found out about residential schools. I only remember hearing the name and seeing a picture, schools for Indian kids. I thought they sounded lovely, schools in park like settings sounded idyllic. I went to school in the inner city. I went to school with native kids. Their parents and/or grandparents probably went to residential schools.They never talked about it.
It wasn't till I was in grade 8/9 that I remember hearing about them. Then slowly, we all started to hear the stories. At first there was a lot of disbelief. The schools my parents etc. went to had corporal punishment, or were boarding schools, with cruel teachers and/or nuns. They just thought the Natives were soft.
Then the stories got louder, more descriptive, the horrors, the abuse, the starvation, more dead children..
Then people started to believe. To understand. To emphasis.
Canada is far from perfect. We have, I think, as a collective started working on the changes that the Truth and Reconciliation process recommended. In the last 5 years I've seen all kinds of things change for the better.
All that being said, there is a huge group of people that are survivors, and while many of them have lived ok or even great lives, there are so many that have struggled, and so have their children and so on. I can't imagine their trauma. Generational scars.
Except in a way I can completely. I have been saying for years that Ireland was the model for Canada. Not only were the police the same, so were the residential schools and prison system, and so many other insidious things.
The only thing I'd change is, Canada wasn't (at first) a place people came because they wanted to... It was a dumping ground to get rid of a problem population. In both Ireland and Scotland, where the Catholics/Ethnic Scots/Irish lived, the government cleared the lands. They allowed the (mostly) newly wealthy (from slavery) to buy up huge tracts of land. Doing so displaced ?? thousands of people, either by deportation or burning their homes out from under them. They either moved to the cities around the UK, or chose (forced) migration.
In Ireland they created Plantations, where they moved in - planted more desirable people. See US plantations...
When stealing people became a problem, white slaves were useless, and you can only steal so many women to put on boats for breeding purposes... but if you starve them out and put them on coffin boats, problems solved.
Everything they (the rich colonialists) learned across the pond, they applied here. The funny thing is, the UK lost all interest in Canada, except to get rid of problems, they continued to deport people to Canada until the 50's, I believe. They didn't give a damn about us, natives or anyone. Just wanted us gone.
The only difference between what they did to the Native in Canada, and what they did to the Irish, is that we lost everything. We gained a lot of oppourtunity - I guess, but we no longer have the language, the customs, the history. It will be lost to future generations except genetics - sun burns - maybe. lol
The call us all colonialists now, because of our skin colour, but we were all hurt/affected/ by the same greedy force. We lost our homeland, family ties, history, language, they lost their land, they lost their innocence. They tried to beat the Indian out of the child. It didn't work. It did with the rest of us.
Thankfully, they've been able to hold on to their culture, many of their languages, their stories, their history and their medicine.
We hold on to scraps of memories, our history is in books, our culture is now hockey and donuts, our stories are the same crap our neighbours to the south share, hollywood princesses ad nauseum. The rich greedy bastards won. They are still winning... Maybe one day they won't. I won't be holding my breath.