Canada apologizes for residential schools, forced assimilation

Prime Minister Harper offered Canada’s aboriginal peoples an official apology for the government’s involvement in the Indian residential school system and its ongoing policy of forced assimilation.

Opposition leaders also offered their apologies during a special sitting of the House of Commons. First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders were welcomed onto the House floor to respond to the apology.

82 thoughts on “Canada apologizes for residential schools, forced assimilation

  1. Don’t be fooled by Harper’s gesture to make amends for an atrocious part of Canada’s history. If he cared about Canadian Aboriginals he would not have canceled the Kelowna Accord which would have been of great benefit. He has done nothing for the First Nations other than to give a token apology.

  2. @Maslaq Well, Maslaq, I wish you could be the chief for the reserves around here! I have never seen much of the reserves in the US but I have a feeling that they are a little different then here. ( Canada )

    The reserves that I live beside are extremely depressing. It’s so frustrating to see the things that I paid for be wasted so obviously, AND then they have the nerve to ask for more stuff WHILE complaining taht teh white man has ruined the world.

  3. I have taken classes in sociology. 3 to be exact. I am not judging the very small percentage of indians that do live a productive fulfilling life. Im talking about the MAJORITY who live short, dismal lives based around hand outs and drugs/alcohol with a side of unemployment. Its a terrible truth. I have also taken courses in history, particularly Canadian aboriginal history, even though my major is in biotechnology. However facts and STATS do not lie. I believe in structural functionalism

  4. @Maslaq So if you guys were so well off before “we” came, why don’t you take some pride, say NO to gevernement handouts and fend for yourselves? Either get a job and actually contribute to society or move up here to Canada where there are millions of acres of untouched land and leave “our evil currency” out of it?!?!?

  5. @Maslaq I appreciate your comments, you seem like a seasonable guy. However, I need to welcome you to reality.

    The evil white man moved to this continent. GET OVER IT. I know that sounds callouse but seriously, we are not going to pack our bags and move back. This may be hard to believe for some….

    You say it’s not about the money?!? Just last week the headlines in the news was “Res Chief makes 10x what preimer ( or governer for you Americans ) makes”

  6. Thank you kefri. I have commented on countless Residential school videos and all I read is “kill white man” or “We are always being mistreated”. I grew up surrounded by 5 reserves all of which use our tax money for free homes they recieve AND THEY TRASH THEM. Yes the RS were terrible, but so was the Holocaust. But do u see Jewish people leading in crime rates or unemployment. NO. So why are indians the only race who decides it is their right to whimper and cry about the past AND NOT MOVE ON??

  7. @DOCNZ I agree 100%. More money, handouts, taxes, buildings, promises, balming the “evil white man”, etc will NOT make things better.

    When the native population decides to take matters into their own hands, educate their children, and look after themselves things will begin to improve.

  8. @Seth No, I cannot imagine how terrible thers schools were. You are right. However WE CANNOT CHANGE THE PAST!

    Where I live the native pop is high ( 20% ) ish. I live close to several large reserves. These people take my money and waste it!! How can I not be upset? We were going to get a large wind farm put up but now it is in court because the native claim “the air is theirs” and want money. ALWAYS about the money. Don’t give me any bullshit about any more noble reasons.

  9. @Syndo
    Yes I will admit I am a little racist. You want to know why? Where I live, 90% of the prison population ( fed from my paycheck ) is native. The hospitals are full of natives who have not taken care of their bodies ( yes, healthcare paid from my paycheck ). The government is constantly building new buildings on the many reserves only to have them destroyed. ( paid by yours truly ) We buy them food, booze, sports equipment, etc. And does any of this help? NO! The bitching never stops

    1. Shame, Shame on all of you Canadians who don’t know your history. I guess with all these ignorant comments racism will never end. Here a little quote from my people: Before the white man came there were no taxes and our country was not in debit. We learned ownership from Europeans. If I could turn back time you could have your metal kettles, your plastic beads, your taxes, your eye glasses, your diseases, your plastic status cards, and your treaties, as long as your return to your homeland.

      I hope your children are never ripped from your arms, beaten if they are crying, beaten because they are speaking english, beaten if they say the lord’s prayer, and told that daddy is evil.

      Ps. the Indian Act states that First Nation people are wards of the crown. The Government want First Nations to be depended on them .

      I really get tried of people picking on who get so little. The guys who are having $100. lunches on your taxes must be laughing: remember the sentor who had a bill of $5000.00 day. He must love you.

  10. yea with attitudes like kefri u might as well been the ones who did it cause if it was presently happening u wouldnt do shit to stop it and probly be apart of it
    fuck apologys long after something serious like a genocide thats like a smack in the face

  11. u sound like an ignorant child with racist parents, u dont give shit from your paycheck to them dumbass your paying tax and bullshit healthcare, i doubt any of them even give a shit about a handout and especially an apology, the damage is done u want them to step up and do wat? take back the land that was stole and kill white people like they did to them?, well that wouldnt be smart for the natives future

  12. @kefri916 They both went, losing their tongues, thus resulting in my parent’s growing up not knowing theirs, and now us, the 3rd generation, not knowing. That’s 3 generations the Residential schools affected, just on my part, theres MANY more, and many more people that may think if you have nothing good to say, say nothing. Why are you watching this video, if you don’t really care for it anyways.

  13. @kefri916 the population of canada, now, i’m tired of being able to collect your paycheck, every day i think of how much better it would be if europeans stayed across the waters. Maybe then i’d be able to speak my language, instead of feeling ashamed every time it’s spoken around me for not understanding them, I speak the white man’s tongue instead of my own, instead of the language the creator gave my people. Why is this? Because my grandfather’s on both sides, went to Residential school.

  14. @kefri916 < What's wrong with you? If you had any idea how Residential school affected the children put there, how it affected their lives, their children's lives, and their children's children's lives, maybe you'd be a bit more forgiving. People like you call our people alcoholics and bums, telling us to get over it. Where were you when they had this done to our people? I bet you had nothing to say then, nor do you have anything decent to say now. The "indian" population is only %2 of all

  15. Why do you feel guilty? Did you do it? NO. Shit has happened yes but for the Indian population needs to step up and take control of their lives instead of looking for handouts and apologies constantly. I’m tired of giving my paycheck to them!

  16. i donnt like harper, i must commend this apology tho, its about fucking time. im a black canadian and i even feel horridly guitly for the suffering of the first nations, metis and inuit. my soul rests a little easier each night knowing that this atrocity has been acknowledged and funds are in place to correct and hopefully mend the indigenous soul

  17. Let’s learn from the past as we move forward as a nation. First Nations are one of Canada’s founding nation partner no one can take that truth away.

    Now i hope people will come together as a nation called Canada.



  18. Thinking about the Australian Aboriginal yearly ‘Sorry-Day’ the Americans should follow this Australian yearly day, educate the real truth on schools instead of the so called heroism of Cortez and Columbus. It could be a very small step for justice to the true owners of North and South America.

  19. Yeah, you did a great job “caring” for them.

    Canada was slave-free just as half of the states in the Union were slave free. When it came time to put your blood and treasure where it counted, by supporting the anti-slavery Union in the Civil War, Canada supported the Confederacy. Canadian hypocrisy is well-documented and long-standing.

  20. This coming from someone from the United States. Dude, grow up We’ve apologized I sugest your coutnry learns from Canada. United States is a waste of space. Becasue if I remember we had to care for the Black slaves in the USA

  21. Something of an empty gesture – when asked by native councils to provide platforms on indigenous policy last election, the Tories were the only party that didn’t even bother to send a reply. Honestly I think it was ultimately just a dressed-up PR stunt, has Harper genuinely done anything to advance healing or reconciliation since this? If he has it’s certainly been a much quieter story than the apology itself.

  22. to kill the Indian in the child would be killing the spirit in that child because that is how we live a spiritual way of life that follows us no matter which places we may dwell cities over seas and other countries . it never leaves us. our past dwells there within our spirit. as told by past elder]s never allow them to forget their injustices. enjoyed the video thanks for sharing.

  23. This is a speech crafted by lawyers. This is a counterfeit apology. It is acknowledging the truth about Canada’s genocide to a roomfull of survivors of the genocide, but the truth remains hidden from the rest of the country. The truth about residential schools and Canada’s role in them must be incoprorated into highschool history classes across the country.

  24. Not being a fan of Stephen Harper, I still feel this Formal Apology is a beginning. Having some Ancestory from this Country and being Indigenous my hope id this will be a real forging and not a mockery.

  25. i understood what all the trouble that went thru with all native americans. when i seen that apology day from the gov’t, i cried and all my family did to. the apology is welcome as well but the memories are stuck with us. i didnt go thru the residential schooling but i understand what has went thru in it. it was cruel what they did to our grandparents, parents back in the day . i didnt like it at all once i was told about it. I think the gov’t didn’t really mean what they said because they just wanted to look good and get the ”attention” . why did you white folks make real bad troubles for us ?

  26. yes, it is well past due!! how much has been lost for ever because of that? thanks to the elders who suffered to preserve the beliefs so that we may have a good way to worship.

  27. I’m native and I think its a damn miracle that the government would acknowledge their error. I admire them for doing so. I do think that native people across Canada need to move on now. There’s no gain in living with the pain.

  28. SOrry is not enough for the pain of the families we hear you’s from this side!!!

    No compensation payout or apologies cant bring back our ancestorial way of life and stripped us of our culture.

  29. this is exactly the same thing that happened in Australia Genocide, Rape, Abuse, Massacred i am a Native Australian man my people are Murri region our people were also removd from their mothers and until the Act came in in 1967 the ABoriginal ACT1967 gave our people the right to vote. When people think of AUstralia they think Europe no Australia has a Black history before King Geogre the III of England came and stole our land and declared has teria nalas latin word meaning Land of no inhabitants

  30. The British corporations Dominion of Canada and USA have been brutal to the American Indian for they knew the Native Indians held the truth
    in how their system was rotten, The earth is your mother the white man leaves scars on the earth from oil tar sands in Alberta to coal strip mines in the Appalachia in USA.
    the ways of the White man must change dramatically or there will be no air ,water, or earth that is not toxic to humans.

  31. I’m white. I live in Port Alberni, where many native children were murdered at a residential school that only closed in 1973. Apology is nice, but it’s too little too late. They need to compensate the children of the survivors. Land, money, whatever it takes. They will never heal from this, but they need help moving on.

  32. Im not saying all of you have let them get away with their crimes, i know some of you still want true justice. I know that some of you simply want this to be over with, but dont forget your scars and suffering, dont let them get away with what they have done.

  33. They need to be held responsible for their crimes. And people should not just let them walk away just because they said ‘sorry’. If the real people who started and caused this are dead, then the agent and government / branches need to be abolish for they are the body. But i see that they got away with their crimes like telling a child ‘i wont do it again so please dont expose my crimes’. Its not over until they are held responsible and punished.

  34. Im sorry but most people dont care about the truth. They only care about their suffering and their freedom. Now that the government has apologize and promise never to do it again everything is A OK. No one seems to have been held responsible and nothing was changed, only that these people are now free so they could care less about anything else. These people seem to forget their scar, if i was them i would make sure whatever caused this oppression would cease to exist.

  35. and when that time happens is totally up to first nations and not determined by government. This apology is just an easy way out for the government to not accept the responsibility…do they think everything will now be fine and dandy??? i think not. To my brothers and sisters…maintain the power base in the fight to make government accountable!!! stay strong!

  36. To add my two cents worth as indigenous to Aotearoa NZ To my brothers and sisters of Canada in order to hold power as first nations regarding this apology from the canadian government…what should of happend in the house of representatives was as a collective of first nations to say to the government “we dont want your apology, but we as first nations will pardon you for past transgressions and atrocities” that way you actually hold the power by your rules and in your time.

  37. Thank You

    But All The Money Given To The People Who Were In Residential Schools

    I Dont Think Would Help

    People Still Have All The Pain And Memories Deep Down Inside

  38. To ‘apologize’ legally means “To hold blameless”. I still hold British corporation Dominion of Canada guilty of Genocide. Don’t need APPLE clowns like Phil Fontaine selling us out. He does not represent me. STOP selling us out all you APPLES!

  39. i am native warrior its not apology we want we
    want our land back from the government if the
    government don’t give our land back and our
    warriors will never give up my grandparents has
    been residential school they took warriors that

  40. their stupid apology ment nothing it means nothing…im 19 years old, yeah im young but my papa went through hell my poeple our people suffered and still do. because of the abuse they endured and were shown it then passed on through our generations and still is.all they have is a stupid speach from poeple who have no idea. I live in a world of buildings and technolgy, bloody alcohol. I can only dream of what i iwsh ii could see. we have to fight as people keep our spirit alive find our language or it can be lost forever…

  41. For those people that hate natives, get a fucking life, don’t hate us cause were different, we peferr called first nations or natives not indains dont forgot about that. I’m Native and proud to be one

  42. My grandma has been in residental school, usually she goes through hard times, she get nightmares and sometimes i hear scream while she’s asleep. My grandma is my role model, she’s a strong woman.

  43. In 1970’s a massive leak in JR Nakogee school, many students got sick from the fumes. In 2000 parents pull out thier children out of the school. the government promise us to give them a new school but 8 years long, nothing…no new school, people were furious and fighing what is right. We’ll never forget about this

  44. yes it really wrong what they have done to us, our language has been lost, 2% native people living in this country(Canada), apology is not we want, we need more housing, education, and many more, i’m from Attawapiskat, Ontario,

  45. Its the governments way of saving face. TOO LATE! Their words are empty…..Lives have been destroyed forever, there is NO healing for the survivors, no Peace. The Canadian & US Governments LIE! Destructive Bastards!

  46. This is deadly. Its too late for an apology.

    JOIN MY NATIVE PRIDE group on Facebook..
    “Native Power – Our Right as One!” is the
    name of the group!

    Post your stories and Comments!

  47. I’m making videos about this right now. I have a couple of them up that explain the untold truth of the real effects of the Residential Schools and how we can overcome those limitations and become wealthy. Not rich, but wealthy.

    I’m currently traveling Canada delivering a message how we can empower ourselves and become self reliant – without any help from the government.

  48. i hope that someday all candians will actually realize the sort of things these people had to suffer in their lives. and even though it “seems” like they have it better than other candians. They went through alot before the government finally realized the suffering it had caused in the aboriginal ways. These schools did not instill any joy or love in them. but fear and trauma that they had to live with for the rest of their lives.
    They need to make a movie, maybe everyone will understand then

  49. the apology meant nothing to me. they were platitudes slapped together at a time when the political parties of canada needed to make themselves look good. this was done once again with the use of the ppl of turtle island.

  50. Maybe stephen Harper should say sorry for slavery too. Come on. I feel for those people for sure. I just don’t see how this governments appology is going to change that history. Instead we should work on the problems of today and try to do right by that. Settle land claims in a speedy manner and give the people back their land. Here is the thing though. When you get back your land is it our responsibility to continue paying money and gov’t support. When is enough enough!

  51. I’m very surprised by how much Stephane Dion (and Stephen Harper to a certain extent) acknowledge that their parties have acknowledged to perpetrating injustice.

  52. Thanks for this. I did not want to hear the Apology, I had too much Pride in me. I heard it and cried. My mom and dad would have been proud. They taught me that the White People were superior and told us everything they learned over that the schools. I believed them and learned it until I saw with my own eyes that it is not true. It’s not enough for me the apology but it will do. I am happy to be an Aborigional today. Thanks! don’t erase this video.

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