Native Canadians Seek Healing Through Religious Ceremonies and Western Psychology

March 10, 2004

Source: The New York Times

On March 10, 2004 The New York Times ran a feature article on Native Americans in Canada seeking ways of healing from a history of imperialism: "Their stories, like so many others here, have a common thread: a childhood spent at one of the more than 100 residential schools for Native Canadians financed for more than a century by the government to force assimilation. The abuses at the schools, the last of which was closed in 1986 and which were run by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, United and Presbyterian churches, are well documented. Lawsuits have been filed against the churches and the Canadian government. With government aid, the villagers are trying to heal, mixing Western psychological tools with traditional religious ceremonies to try to draw a line on a history of abuse that they and social workers say has become a generational legacy that threatens to shatter their people permanently. No comprehensive study has yet measured the full damage wrought by the schools. But a growing body of scholarly work suggests that their legacy is at the root of social ills in scores of Native villages and among Native Canadians who have migrated to large Canadian cities."