What is considered “wrong” in the event of residential schools?

Growing up, I always felt as though I had understood a great deal on aboriginal culture. After all, aboriginal culture was near the only thing we studied in the elementary socials classroom. The problem was that I never understood the darker side between the Canadian’s and Aboriginal people’s relationship. Residential schools were never brought up in all ten years of my school life, until that fateful day we read an article this semester. As I grew up, it seemed apparent that justice for the aboriginal communities affected by residential schools was vital.

As stated by CBC, “Bulpit said she suffered similar harms as thousands of aboriginal people who survived the residential school system. Yet unlike her peers, she was excluded from the federal government’s historic apology in July 2008 and was never awarded compensation.” The article states that although hundreds of aboriginal children like Bulpit were not actually in these residential schools, those children censored of language and culture were ignored by the government. The government felt as though because they did not directly impact these children, these children were not a major problem. What can we really define as directly impacted though? These children grew up with a loss of culture and language, isn’t that considered a massive impact? Children who grew up like Bulpit were not given the chance to even think about freedom, or growing up above poverty and abuse. In my opinion, these children deserve more than was handed to them, and that was next to nothing.

The question now is did you necessarily have to go to a residential school to be effected? In my previous document of learning and my main question, I’ve been focusing on the ethics and values, the right and wrong in the event of residential schools. Particularly, the difference in ethics and values between the present and the past and between two opposing parties. We as a society have different ethics and morals then the society two or three generations back. For example, mit.edu states that from a list of morals “we can see that there are two categories: things we should do, and things we shouldn’t do.” Much of these morals are based on the need to help, inspired by our empathy. Some common examples include we shouldn’t steal things, killing, injuring is wrong, and we should always tell the truth. Back in the early stages of residential schools, the set of common morals may completely differ than what I just stated. Morals we look at as automatic now may not have been as commonly implemented in the past.

In the residential school system, there was a harsh divide in sides. One side included the priests and nuns that ran the schools, and another side contained the aboriginal families affected by these schools. It is likely, anyone who reads these horrifying stories written by survivors of these schools would feel immediate guilt and disgust. How could Canada, a country that accepts all differences and a country of complete freedom have such a dark past? However; is it really okay to judge the residential school system based on ethics and morals of the present? Back when residential schools had first started, it may have been that the priests and nuns that ran the schools genuinely felt as though it was important to implement these schools and guidelines. The morals that the priests and nuns valued at the time would have been what they felt was right. By no means should we ever force other people into valuing our beliefs; however, technically these morals weren’t “wrong” as we can’t truly define what wrong or right is. On the other side, the aboriginal families may have valued completely different morals, but were never given the chance to express themselves because they had slowly become the minority. As a society in the present, we would most likely side with the aboriginal families because our sets of morals differ from the morals of the priests and nuns. Although, if we were a society in the past, how would our society feel towards this issue?