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article imageCanadian residential school system guilty of 'cultural genocide'

By Daniel Woods     Jun 1, 2015 in World
A Truth and Reconcilliation Commission investigating Canada’s residential school system has described it's treatment of aboriginal children as tantamount to 'cultural genocide.'
Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation, set up to investigate the history of the residential schools, has found that at least 6,000 aboriginal children died while in the care of the residential school system.
The finding surpasses an earlier estimate which put the figure at 4,000, even though the latest number is still only a downward approximation.
In the 19th century, Canada implemented a policy of "aggressive assimilation" which called for aboriginal children to be educated and socialised at church–run, government–funded residential schools.
The Commission has cast light upon a dark chapter in Canadian history — many aboriginal children taken into residential care died as a consequence of malnourishment and disease, and during the 1940s and 1950s some were subject to science experiments involving food deprivation, the observation of nutritional deficit and withdrawal of dental care.
The inquiry will publish its report in the next couple of days and is based on first hand testimony of over 7,000 people.
It is expected to be over two million words in length.
Beverley McLachlin, the chief justice of the Supreme Court. Speaking at the Global Centre for Pluralism, said that Canada had adopted an "ethos of exclusion and cultural annihilation" and the policy represented "the most glaring blemish on the Canadian historic record".
Justice Murray Sinclair concurred:
I think as commissioners we have concluded that cultural genocide is probably the best description of what went on here. But more importantly, if anybody tried to do this today, they would easily be subject to prosecution under the genocide convention. Evidence is mounting that the government did try to eliminate the culture and language of indigenous people for well over a hundred years. and they did it by forcibly removing children from their families and placing them within institutions that were cultural indoctrination centres.
In 2008, the Canadian government made a state apology for the harm, cruelty and abuse perpetuated by the residential school system. 
More about Canada, Residential schools, cultural genocide, Racism, Child abuse
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