Ashlyn M.

Summerside, Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island Provincial Heritage Fair

Residential Schools

My project gives an overview of what Indian Residential Schools were like for the Indigenous children of Canada. The project asks and answers the question "Why did it take so long for Indian Residential Schools to be closed down completely?" and it also explains some things Canadians can do to help Canada work towards reconciliation.


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

The most interesting thing that I learned is that the last Residential School only closed in 1996. I couldn't believe how long the schools stayed open. One hundred and twenty years was a long time for the schools to stay in operation and sadly the Canadian Government kept blaming the poor results of the schools on the Indigenous people instead of taking responsibility and closing the schools.

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

The most important lesson that I learned when researching this subject is that just because you think something is right doesn't mean it is right. If you see it is hurting other people then you need to change what is happening. Also, when you make a mistake you shouldn't blame it on others. You need to take responsibility for your own actions.

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

The children in Residential Schools had a very tough life. They were deprived of their childhood and they went through what no child should have to go through. I live a safe and privileged life with the freedom to experience my own culture and grow up with my loving family, while the children in Residential Schools were stripped of their human rights and their culture.