Our CBC has mis-informed Canadians about Indian Residential Schools
Any perceptive Canadian knows that the CBC’s immigration-related reporting is a notorious national disgrace.
The same thing can be said of its reporting on the history of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools.
Any perceptive Canadian also knows that the CBC implies that the only way Canada can atone for its Residential School sins and all other sins against Canada’s Indians is to accept huge numbers of immigrants. However, retired Judge Brian Giesbrecht tells us that as far as residential schools are concerned, Canada is not guilty of the sins our extremely biased CBC and other media accuse Canadians of committing.
(1) The history of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools that is being taught needs to be accurate. But the IRS story entering classrooms is not accurate at all.
Take, for example, the now very well-known story of Chanie (Charlie) Wenjack. He was the unhappy Indigenous boy who supposedly ran away from the Residential School he was attending after suffering physical and sexual abuse from Roman Catholic priests and nuns. This version of the Chanie story is the subject of a popular song, and appears as well in several books, CBC videos, and numerous articles. His story is very moving, and increasingly our nation’s children accept it as fact.
Except that it isn’t fact. It comes nowhere close to being the truth.
The fact is that Chanie Wenjack did not attend a Residential School. As reported by respected journalist and author, Robert MacBain (C2C Journal, Oct.2, 2017), Chanie attended a public school in Kenora, Ontario. At the request of his parents, he was being boarded at the Cecilia Jeffery Residence, a hostel which at one time had been a residential school, and was Presbyterian, not Roman Catholic. Colin Wasacase, a Cree/Saulteaux, was the hostel’s Administrator, and his wife was the Matron for the 150 children boarded there. By all accounts, this Indigenous couple was caring and compassionate towards all the children.
There is absolutely no evidence that Roman Catholic priests or nuns abused Chanie as implied in the song, books, and in the video about his life. There is no evidence that he had any contact at all with priests and nuns, much less abusive contact.
Chanie’s story is indeed a very sad one, but the fact that so many people have played fast and loose with its truth should greatly trouble Canadians.
What has been done with Chanie’s story typifies the types of distortion –– half truths, exaggerations, and misleading information –– that characterize so much of the Residential School story many Canadians now believe to be fact.
(2) And what about the sexual abuse that happened at the Residential Schools? The Residential School story has Canadians believing that teachers, supervisors, priests, and nuns were the villains.
There certainly were sexual predators in the Residential Schools. In any situation where children are vulnerable, there are likely to be such people. But the vast majority of the teachers, supervisors, priests, and nuns working in the schools were ordinary, decent people, who thought that they were helping to educate children who would otherwise not have received an education. Now all these people are being slandered by being lumped in with the relatively small percentage of predators. It should also be noted that many of the supervisors who worked directly with the children were, in fact, Indigenous.
However, the sexual abuse is not made up. Where did it come from?
The fact is that the overwhelming number of sexual assaults were almost certainly perpetrated by older students preying on younger ones. This worrying fact is mentioned in the TRC Report, and has been a discussion topic by Senator Murray Sinclair. But it is not widely presented in the popular media. It is not known by ordinary Canadians.
(3) One often sees in respected publications such blanket statements as “Indigenous children were compelled to attend residential schools”, giving readers the impression that all, or at least a great majority, of Indigenous children attended Residential Schools.
This is not true.
As reported by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, about 150,000 children attended the schools during the entire history of their operation, between the 1870s and 1996. These children were drawn from the entire population of aboriginal people — status Indians, Inuit, non-status Indians, and Metis. But the 150,000 children represent only a small fraction of that total population, and a significant percentage of that number attended for only a few years.
Brian Giesbrecht’s full account can be found in this link : https://fcpp.org/2017/11/02/teaching-the-residential-school-story/