1. We call upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and
Aboriginal governments to commit to reducing the
number of Aboriginal children in care by:
iv. Ensuring that social workers and others who
conduct child-welfare investigations are properly
educated and trained about the potential for
Aboriginal communities and families to provide
more appropriate solutions to family healing.
v. Requiring that all child-welfare decision makers
consider the impact of the residential school
experience on children and their caregivers.
The welfare of the young remains an important aspect of the rights of children. But this becomes a point of special emphasis segments of the population that experience, trauma, and loss as a result explicit governmental and Christian policies enacted and implemented for explicit imposition on those populations.
Of course, the central sector of the population spoken of here is the Indigenous Canadian population. The Christian church, in general, has played an enormous and general role in the process of colonization and deliberate – and failed – attempts at extermination and genocide of the peoples and cultures of North America.
Now, the central thesis in these two further stipulations is the making sure that there is sufficient education of the social workers in order to be better equipped to work within the cross-cultural context.
This includes looking into some of the most sensitive situations or contexts for the social workers and the Indigenous communities within a historical context. The orientation here is not only acknowledgment but also the environment in which there can be healing.
Without the proper healing of the communities and the families, and the young, the intergenerational trauma from the impacts of colonization can continue and will advance and, potentially, become worse.
Another stipulation, (v), speaks to the ways in which the child-welfare decision makers should be taking into account the individual and collective experiences of the Indigenous or Aboriginal within Canada given the residential school systems.
These, only closing in 1996 and impacting tens of thousands of Indigenous people, should be acknowledged, taken into account, and used as part of the knowledge base about the Aboriginal communities within this country.
There is a deep wound in this country; this was inflicted mostly by the European settlers in the process of colonization. The basis for healing is acknowledgment and recognition of this fact followed by incorporation of this into efforts to mutually work on the healing of individuals, families, and communities within the Aboriginal context of North America.
The questions to bear in mind are the historical markers as the first point of contact, followed by the impact – negative – on the individuals who went through the traumatic experiences, and then the ways in which their trauma may leave them less capable as caregivers of the next generation and, therefore, leading the intergenerational trauma and negative outcomes for the young.
It was an imposed system based on tremendous amounts of dehumanizing activities, but it can also be a means by which to look at as something never to be done again and towards healing, and so on.
But the work needs to be done at several levels and throughout the nation.
(Updated: December 7, 2018)
- The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP, 2007)
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action (2015)
- C169 – Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169) (1989)
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