Sarah M.

Toronto, Ontario

Toronto West Regional Fair

Residential Schools

My project explores the experience of residential school students in Canada and the losses associated with that experience. This includes lost culture, lost language and ruined lives caused by the incorrect idea that we should all be the same and that one group’s culture, language and ideas are superior to others.

What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

I learned about the tragic and far reaching consequences of the residential school experience. The high suicide rates, alcohol misuse, poor health and the painful loss of culture and language that Aboriginals live with to this day that is directly and widely connected to these schools.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

We are all humans, the same and should be treated equally with dignity and respect. We should accept and honour each other's differences. All Canadians need to be aware of the widespread damage caused by the residential school experience so it does not happen again.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

Thankfully, I am allowed to express my opinion and choose what religion I wish to follow, unlike the children in residential schools. I know I will not be forcefully taken away from my family as Aboriginal children were. The laws that allowed the government and churches of Canada to do this are no longer in force.