Overcast

Winnipeg, MB

-3°c Overcast

Full Forecast

Editorials

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Mandatory history is not needed

Posted: 10/7/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

Advertisement

  • Print

Justice Murray Sinclair has a good case to argue that professionals who work with First Nations people should have good grounding in the historical and cultural factors that can complicate that work and relations with native people. For many years, those in authority -- doctors, teachers, police -- carried out services at the direction of government, by policies that were racist and harmful to First Nations. Some professionals are regarded with suspicion to this day.

That touches upon the myriad considerations that get in the way of building good relations with clients, or act as a barrier to integrating First Nation employees and professionals into the work force. These are some of the things Judge Sinclair, commissioner of the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission, had in mind in insisting last week that all professions undergo mandatory training in the history of residential schools in Canada.

Residential schools robbed children of their language, culture and the care of their families. They grew up in environments that, initially, sought to bleed the Indian out of them, to assimilate them. Many were badly physically and sexually abused. This piece of our history helps explain the lingering distrust, the degradation of self-sufficiency in remote First Nations communities and generations of social malaise that includes high rates of substance abuse, disease and unemployment.

Any organization or professional school whose employees and students will be in frequent contact with aboriginal people and communities should see the evident need that they understand the history and its impact, but it does not need to be mandatory on all professions.

Rather, understanding the roots of this country's political, social and economic relationship with its first peoples should be required as basic education. That is why public school curriculum should reflect the history and the reality of First Nations. This is important to Canada, in all realms.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 7, 2013 A8

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.