Intro (slide 1) Good morning everyone. My IOP questions

Intro (slide 1)

Good morning everyone. My IOP questions is “to what extent
is Pete a victim of colonization and the mistreatment of aboriginal people”. In
order to answer this question I will first talk about colonialism, what the Canadian
government did and then how it relates to Pete.

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Colonization (slide 2)

Colonialism by definition is the control or governing
influence of a nation over a dependent country, territory, or people. Starting
in the late 15th century French and British expeditionary forces “discovered”
land they believed to be uninhabited which they promptly claimed, fought wars
over and ultimately colonized. This became common during this time as more and
more individuals migrated to North America and in our case more specifically
the land that makes up modern day Canada.

However this seemingly uninhabited land was home to many
different and vibrant aboriginal peoples all with their own already well
established cultures and traditions such as the Algonquin, Nipissing and Mohawk
people respectively. This land where First Nations lived gave them sustenance,
it was where they grew up, learned not just about their culture but also
themselves, and thrived as unique but still intertwined communities. Unfortunately
for the First Nations peoples the Colonial forces not only took their land, but
also over the course of hundreds of years took advantage of them, exploited
them for economic gain and attempted to destroy their culture through
assimilation because they viewed it as savage and inferior.

The general mistreatment of Aboriginals in the land that now
constitutes modern day Canada leads us to where we are today. A society where
aboriginal people are three times more likely to have be victimized compared to
non-Aboriginal people, where only half of aboriginal Children live with both
parents and where 28% of on-reserve First Nations people and 30% of Inuit in
Canada live in crowded homes meaning with more than one person per room.

 

Through what means… (Slide 3)

The Government of Canada through the Indian Act, Residential
Schools and the 60’s scoop severely impacted native culture and their communities
in a Negative way. The actions the Canadian government chose to take left many
Individuals dead, confused about their identity and with issues such as alcoholism
and depression.

Indian Act (slide 4)

The Indian Act is a law passed in 1876 by the Canadian
government. It gave the government control over all Natives people. It covered many
aspects of daily life but focused on 3 things Band councils, reserves, and
status. Its main goal was to control Natives & assimilate them into Canada.
It basically made natives wards of the state, decided who was and wasn’t native
and gave the government power to decide what the Natives could and couldn’t do
with their culture. For example the government outlawed Sundances and
Potlatches which were major social celebrations of culture within communities.
The Indian Act effectively destroyed morale and took away aboriginals rights to
practice their customs in an effort to assimilate them into Canada.

 

 

 

Residential Schools (slide 5)

In the 1870’s the Government of Canada partnered with many churches
to create and run boarding residential schools for Aboriginal children. The
goal of the Residential School System was to educate, assimilate, and integrate
Aboriginal people into Canadian society. In the words of a government official
it was a system created “to kill the Indian in the child.” Attendance at
residential schools was mandatory for Aboriginal children across Canada and if
you failed to send your children to residential school it resulted in the
punishments sometimes including imprisonment.

Many Aboriginal children were taken far away from their
homes normally forcibly removed and separated from their families. Others who
attended residential schools near their communities were often not allowed to see
their families outside of occasional visits. Students weren’t allowed to speak
their native language or practice their own culture and would get punished if
they did. Many students had to take part in hard manual labour and were fed
with poor quality of food. There are accounts of students being given food that
was moldy, maggot infested and rotten. Many surviving students reported being
sexually and mentally abused, beaten and severely punished, overcrowding,
illness, forced to sleep outside during winters, forced to wear dirty underwear
on the head or wet bed sheets on their body, forced participation in medical experiments,
disease and sometimes cases death. Many of the individuals who survived these
schools went on to develop and suffer from mental conditions such as PTSD. An
intergenerational effect developed in many descendants the residential school
survivors. These descendants share the same problems and burdens that their
older family members faced even if they did not go to residential schools
themselves. These include abuse, compromised family systems, and also the loss
of Aboriginal of language, culture, stories and teaching of traditions from one
generation to another.

60’s scoop (slide 6)

The 60’s scoop was the practice of taking children from
Aboriginal families in Canada and placing them up for adoption or in foster
care. Each province had their own systems for this such as Saskatchewan’s AIM
(Adopt Indian Metis) program. It’s estimated that 20,000 aboriginal children
were taken from their families and put into these systems of foster care and
adoption. This government policy lasted till the mid 80’s. Many children
growing up in these conditions where their identity had been supressed and abuse
was common eventually went on to experience psychological and emotional
problems. For many effected children, the roots of these problems did not come
out until later in life when they were older and learned about their real birth
family and their heritage. Raven Sinclair, A Social work Professor describes the
traumas caused by the 60s scoop as “tremendous obstacles to the development of
a strong and healthy sense of identity for the transracial adoptee.” Feelings
of not belonging in either Canadian society or in Aboriginal society can also
add to the individuals struggle to find their true identity.

 

 

(slide 7)

 The passing of the Indian
act, creation and implementation of residential schools and 60’s scoop were all
attempts by the Government who were in power because of colonization that aimed
to undermine aboriginal culture and assimilate them into Canada. These acts did
not successfully assimilate aboriginals into Canadian culture and the only long
lasting impacts are ones that left families shattered, individuals with issues
such as depression, alcoholism, identity crisis and an upbringing that left
many not learning how to parent and raise the next generation of their people.

(slide 8)

Pete was effected by all of this and is to a very large
extent a victim of the effects of colonialism and mistreatment of his people.
The Indian Act, Residential Schools, the 60’s scoop. They are all factors that
contributed to the quality of life he lived. The absence of family, proper
parenting and his own culture was created and mirrored in his own mother because
she too suffered from the same lack of familial presence, proper parenting values
and absence of culture due to the 60’s scoop and Residential schools and Indian
act.  Through these injustices Pete was led
to join a gang perhaps in search for a sense of comradery, family and culture. However
joining a gang only further added to Pete’s issues specifically but not limited
to violence. Pete’s association with his gang enabled him to be more violent
and have more outbursts as shown by the sections in the beginning of the book
where Petes “angry” mask appears. An example of which is when he murdered his mother’s
boyfriend sending him to prison or kicked his girlfriend out of his car. Pete being
a part of that gang also made him a bad influence on his brother Joey and ended
up laying the groundwork and connections for Joey to end up joining the gang
when Pete was in prison. Pete also suffered from a lack of culture. Prior to
his experience with the healing center he had not experienced any of his native
heritage. This lack of culture and not knowing a large part of his identity left
him with no real purpose or aspirations. Before the healing centre Pete was on
track to just be another statistic but fortunately through discovering his
culture he was able to turn his life around.

(slide 9)

In conclusion Pete was indirectly negatively impacted by what
the government did to past generations of aboriginal people because of the long
lasting harmful effects that they had on parenting, family structure and
culture. All of which are important pillars in building a strong, morale,
citizen who has a positive impact in their community. It wasn’t till Pete
rediscovered and reconnected to his roots when he was able to grow into a
leader and help others around him who are in similar situations to the one he
was in. Pete’s struggle represents a similar battle many first nations face. We
don’t learn what band Pete is a part of so by the author not revealing this
Pete becomes a face of all of the different first nation’s bands which is
fitting because the government treated all natives the same resulting in them
all suffering from similar struggles.