Children were routinely taken away from their parents and homes at a very young age. Children as young as six would be rounded up and shipped off to schools which were often far away from home. The idea was to separate the child from his / her cultural background and to integrate him into white society. This could only be done if the family was not around to influence the child. Even siblings at the same school were allowed little contact with each other. The children would be discouraged, sometimes forcefully, from conversing in their native language.
This isolation of children from their home communities, for perhaps several years, had a profound effect on Aboriginal people that today manifests itself in many different forms with often devastating results. People lost their families and their language and culture. Alter being separated for so long, many students and parents felt they no longer belonged together. For the children, it meant living with this sense of isolation from family and from the white society into which they were supposedly prepared to join.
There were sixteen residential schools where status Indian children from Manitoba were placed. Some children were also placed in schools outside the province and, in some cases, in the United States. The last of the Indian Residential schools were dismantled in 1988 after several generations of Aboriginal children had passed through the system.
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