INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD HAVE BEEN A MAJOR TARGET FOR DISCRIMINATION AND THIS HAS BEEN THE CASE THROUGHOUT HISTORY, HOWEVER, THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF AUSTRALIA AND CANADA HAVE QUITE RECENTLY FELT THE BURDEN. IT IS EVIDENT THAT DURING THE 1990’S TO THE EARLY 2000’S, A LOWER STANDARD OF EDUCATION RECEIVED BY INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS HAS A CLOSE SIMILARITY WITH THE EDUCATION RECEIVED BY INDIGENOUS CANADIANS.
THE NON-INDIGENOUS RESULTS FROM STUDENTS IN BOTH AUSTRALIA AND CANADA HAVE EXCEEDED THE STANDARD OF INDIGENOUS STUDENT’S RESULTS WHICH HAS TERRIBLY DISADVANTAGED THE INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES OF AUSTRALIA AND CANADA. THE NOTICEABLE DIFFERENCE IN EDUCATION RESULTS IS DUE TO THE UNFAIR TREATMENT OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE IN AUSTRALIA AND CANADA, FROM TEACHING DIFFERENT AND DISHONEST CURRICULUM, MISSING OUT ON VALUABLE OPPORTUNITIES, NOT BEING ABLE TO INCORPORATE THEIR NATIVE TRADITIONS AND EVEN THE HARSH AND RACIST BULLYING. THESE ARE ALL WELL-FOUNDED EXAMPLES OF THE LACK OF QUALITY EDUCATION THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE HAVE RECEIVED. SINCE COLONISATION IN CANADA, MISSIONARIES HAD ESTABLISHED SCHOOLS FOR INDIGENOUS CHILDREN.
THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENTS BELIEVED THAT BY USING ASSIMILATION, INDIGENOUS CHILDREN WOULD BECOME CIVILISED AND WOULD BRING THEM INTO COLONIAL SOCIETY. (WIKIPEDIA, 2014) THE TWO MAIN TYPES OF SCHOOLS WERE BOARDING SCHOOLS THAT WERE LOCATED ON OR NEAR THE RESERVES AND INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS THAT WERE LOCATED IN THE CITIES AND RESPONSIBLE FOR TRAINING INDIGENOUS CHILDREN FOR MANUAL LABOUR. DESPITE THE INDIGENOUS STUDENTS LEARNING READING, WRITING, MATHS AND LABOURING SKILLS, THEY WERE ON THE OTHER HAND TAKEN AWAY FROM THEIR FAMILIES AND UNABLE TO SPEAK IN THEIR NATIVE LANGUAGE.
IN SOME SCHOOLS, SERVER PUNISHMENT WAS REQUIRED IF STUDENTS SPOKE IN THEIR NATIVE LANGUAGES (AUSTRALIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION 2010). IN COMPARISON TO THIS, WHEN AUSTRALIA EXPERIENCED IT’S ‘STOLEN GENERATION’ OF ASSIMILATING INDIGENOUS AND HALF-CAST CHILDREN INTO MODERN DAY SOCIETY, THE CHILDREN WERE NOT ONLY FORCED INTO ATTENDING REGULAR SCHOOLING, BUT THEY WERE ALSO IN SOME CASES, FORCED INTO SLAVERY. (WIKIPEDIA, 2014)
IN SOME CASES, THE INDIGENOUS CHILDREN COPED WITH THE TRAUMA OF LOSING THEIR FAMILIES, AND FLOURISHED, DESPITE THE PREVAILING SENSE AND KNOWLEDGE OF THEIR LOSS OF AND SEPARATION FROM THEIR BIRTH FAMILIES, COMMUNITIES, LAND AND CULTURE. HOWEVER, FOR MANY OTHER CHILDREN, WHO WERE PLACED WITH UNSATISFACTORY FOSTER PARENTS OR IN INSTITUTIONS, AS ADULTS THEY CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE TO OVERCOME THEIR EXPERIENCES OF TRAUMA, LOSS, ISOLATION, AND OFTEN, ABUSE. (NATIONAL SORRY DAY COMMITTEE, 2014)
IN THE SAME MANNER, BOTH CANADA AND AUSTRALIA WERE LARGE SUPPORTERS OF ASSIMILATION AND WANTING INDIGENOUS CHILDREN TO GROW UP LEARNING THE SAME THINGS AS NON-INDIGENOUS CHILDREN. ALTHOUGH THE HIERARCHY IN BOTH COUNTRIES WERE SIMPLY ATTEMPTING TO ‘HELP THE NATION GROW’, THEY WERE IN THE LONG RUN, MAKING IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR INDIGENOUS CITIZENS TO BECOME ACCEPTED INTO SOCIETIES. STATISTICS SHOW THAT IN CANADA, MORE THAN ONE-THIRD OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE HAVE NOT COMPLETED HIGH SCHOOL. (AUCC. CA, 2010)
THESE LOW RESULTS STEM FROM THE GOVERNMENT’S EFFORTS TO ‘HELP THE NATION GROW’ WHICH MAY HAVE BACK-FIRED AS MOST INDIGENOUS PEOPLE FELT THAT THE EFFORTS MADE WERE NOT HUMANE AND COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS. IT IS EVIDENT IN MANY WRITTEN SOURCES THAT IN BOTH COUNTRIES, ABORIGINAL CHILDREN WERE BULLIED AND ISOLATED FROM MOST OTHER NON-INDIGENOUS STUDENTS.
THIS WAS A MAJOR DOWNFALL FOR THE INDIGENOUS CHILDREN AS SCHOOL WAS NOT FUN OR ENJOYABLE BY ANY MEANS AND FOR THEM, THERE WASN’T MUCH REASON TO PUT ANY EFFORT INTO SOMETHING THEY WERE FORCED INTO ATTENDING. (ANDREW SHARPE, 2009) BOTH CANADA’S AND AUSTRALIA’S STATISTICS ARE VERY SIMILAR AND CAN BE COMPARED TO EACH OTHER WITH ROUGHLY THE SAME LEVEL OF OVERALL RESULTS.
ALTHOUGH, AUSTRALIA’S STATISTICS TELL THAT IN 2007, 64% OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AGED 18-24 YEARS HAD COMPLETED GRADE 12. (HUMAN RIGHTS, 2012) THIS SCIENTIFIC STATISTIC SHOWS HOW OVER TIME, THE ‘YOUNGER GENERATION’ OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO PAY MORE AND MORE INTEREST INTO THEIR EDUCATION. EVENTUALLY AS TIME PASSED BY INTO THE EARLY 2000’S, EDUCATION IN BOTH CANADA AND AUSTRALIA BECAME AN ESSENTIAL FACTOR OF EVOLVING INTO AN ‘ESTABLISHED’ ADULT.
BEING EDUCATED AND/OR HAVING AN EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND OPENED MANY WINDOWS OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR MOST, RESULTING IN MAINTAINING A WELL-PAYING JOB, MAKING IT EASIER TO ASSIMILATE INTO SOCIETY AND ALSO BEING ABLE TO MAKE CONSCIOUS DECISIONS FOR THE BETTER. THIS INCLUDES UPHOLDING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE WHICH CAN BE DEVELOPED AND USED TO PASS ONTO OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS FOR A CLEARER FAMILY WELL-BEING. (CPRN, 2007) NOT ONLY DID EDUCATION BECOME A HUGE PART OF EVOLVING INTO A WELL- ROUNDED PERSON, IT ALSO PROVIDED SOCIETY WITH DYNAMIC EXTERNALITIES ASSOCIATED WITH ECONOMIC GROWTH;
STATIC KNOWLEDGE SPILL OVERS; NON-MARKET EXTERNAL BENEFITS SUCH AS REDUCED CRIMINAL ACTIVITY; AND SOCIAL BENEFITS ASSOCIATED WITH TAXATION. (RIDDELL, 2006) UNLIKE CANADA, AUSTRALIA HAS MADE MANY EFFORTS TO TRY AND MAKE UP FOR ALL OF THE SUFFERING THE GOVERNMENTS CAUSED DURING THE ASSIMILATION PROCESS.
ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT FIRST steps to remission was made in 1990, when the establishment of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation was made by law of the federal Parliament. Another significant moment for reconciliation was when the human rights and equal opportunity commission presented ‘Bringing Them Home’ – the Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their families presented to Federal Parliament in 1997. (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2010).
Through all of the memorial dates and events for reconciliation, Australia’s ‘National Sorry Day’, held annually on the 26th of May is an event that is close to many people’s hearts, and will continue to be a very momentous day. Despite the many attempts at reconciliation in Australia, assimilating Indigenous children into a modern day society with education will unfortunately always be remembered by the Indigenous community for decades to come. Although, because education can give you so many useful life-long skills, it is positive that more and more Indigenous people are attempting to become involved, especially after a past of such negativity.
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Topic: Indigenous Education in Canada & Australia
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