Is it Important to add Uncomfortable Truths about Canada’s Colonial History into Alberta’s K-4 Curriculum?

December 3, 2020 :: Dr. Maura Hanrahan
Moderated by SACPA administrator

Canada’s Indigenous people have suffered many injustices as a result of colonization. The Residential School system was one of them. Most First Nations, Metis and Inuit people today are themselves residential school survivors or the children/grandchildren of those who survived (many did not). These schools were sites of physical and sexual abuse. Children were taken away, sometimes forcibly, from their parents and from normal family life. They were unable to experience the daily contact, care, and love that parents provide to their children. This was traumatic, and further, it was not a single-event trauma but ongoing trauma, often for many years.

Processing and recovering from trauma are difficult lifelong undertakings, yet residential school syndrome was not even recognized until recently. First Nations, Metis and Inuit children left these schools and tried to get on with their lives, carrying overwhelming emotional burdens, including untreated anxiety, clinical depression, and PTSD. Research demonstrates that many survivors were unable to parent their own children well – how could they when they were not parented themselves?

Shouldn’t it be vital that residential schools be acknowledged in primary schools at all grades as residential schools are a part of the history of Canada? Isn’t the truth about residential schooling a crucial part of decolonizing efforts? With many non-native students unaware of residential schools, why is the provincial government proposing to eliminate this topic from the K-4 curriculum?

Speaker: Dr. Maura Hanrahan

Dr. Hanrahan is currently Board of Governors Research Chair Tier II, Coordinator of the Canadian Studies Program, and Associate Professor in the Department of Geography & Environment at the University of Lethbridge. She is also an adjunct professor with the Environmental Policy Institute, Memorial University. She has a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science and her work is interdisciplinary, drawing from geography and other social science disciplines.

Date and time: Thursday, Dec 3, 2020 at 10am MST

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