Mandatory History Is Not Needed

Winnipeg Free Press, October 7, 2013 | Go to article overview

Mandatory History Is Not Needed


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. …

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