The 11am seminar group's questions were:
- Why is it not mandatory that Canadians learn about residential schools (and about Indigenous people in Canada)?
- Why did the Canadian state ever think residential schools were the right thing to do?
- What happened to the nuns and priests who were involved?
- Why (how?) could supposedly religious people act that way?
- Why did it take so long to end, and to apologize?
- Why do we think that the apology means anything/is enough?
- What do we do now?
The 12am seminar came up with these questions:
- Why did they(Indigenous representatives) accept the apology?
- Why did residential schools continue for so long?
- Why was the apology only limited to abuse?
- Why do Canadians not learn about this in schools?
- How did supposedly religious people rationalize their role?
- Why are Indigenous people still on reserves in Canada? And why do some of those reserves not have decent resources (such as drinkable water, social services & health care)?
- Why did Indigenous people ever help the settlers to begin with?
As you can see, there were a lot of similarities, and some overlap between the two. It seems to me that we can group our questions under the following 3 main headings:
- Causes & effects (contact, religion, motivations, damage done, etc.)
- The apology (limitations, acceptance)
- The future (reserves, where do we go from here, what can we do)
It also seems to me that for some of these questions, there just are no good answers - but that that does not mean they are not good questions. They need to be asked, and talked about, and learned from so that we - and by that we, I mean all people - can prevent such things from ever happening again.
So. I am thinking that I will, over the next week or so (once I finish marking your papers), write a blog post for each of those 3 broad topics. I will not, of course, have all of the answers ... or even, necessarily, any of them. But I can share some of my (non-Indigenous, non-experience-based) opinons ...and perhaps provide some resources that you can choose to follow up on, or not, based on your interest.
I encourage you, also, to share your thoughts, ideas, questions, and especially resources.
I would especially love to see a discussion about what WE can do. Not the bigger we of all Canadians, and/or all Indigenous people. What can we, as non-Indigenous white students do? Should we, or can we, do anything at all?
What do you think?