Throughout genocide of the First Nations. Although the government

              Throughout Canada’s history, First Nations have served to play a prominent role in the creation of the country. They offered to share their land with settlers in hopes of creating an alliance and living together in harmony. Unfortunately, their attempts were greeted with hostility and discrimination. The government’s greed and sense of superiority led to a series of events that ultimately contributed to the cultural genocide of the First Nations. Although the government has strived to reconcile with First Nations, the creation of residential schools, revision of the Indian Act, the Oka crisis and Stephen Harper’s hollow apology prove that native reconciliation will never be achievable.                 The most influential factor and the first step that led to the assimilation of First Nations was the creation of residential schools. The goal of these schools was to integrate all First Nations children, including the Inuit and the Métis, into a rapidly modernizing society through aggressive assimilation. These schools collaborated with the Christian and Anglican churches in order to strip children of their culture and identity; forcing them to wear a uniform, cutting off their hair, assigning numbers to individuals and initiating acts of physical, sexual, and verbal abuse. Any student who managed to survive accumulated many scars and irreversible trauma that carried on as they grew older. Agnes Mills, a former student of the All Saints residential school in Saskatchewan recalled “I wanted to be white so bad, and the worst thing I ever did was I was ashamed of my mother, that honourable woman, because she couldn’t speak English” (“11 Key Quotes And Facts In The TRC Final Report | Toronto Star”). The roots of discrimination towards First Nations had been ingrained to a degree in which Aboriginal children became ashamed of their own identity and their family. The government had taken an irredeemable approach to assimilation and no amount of apologies or actions could have reversed the effects. Former residents still encounter individual, communal and family issues stemmed from these schools, such as self-hatred, isolation, loss of culture and traditions, unresolved grief, communal violence and increasing suicide rates.                The implementation of residential schools was not enough to satisfy the government due to the fact that the schools only targeted Aboriginal children and not the ‘Indian problem’ as a whole. Aboriginal women soon became the next targets for the government through the revision of the Indian Act in 1951. The revisions included the loss of status for Indigenous women marrying non-native men. Once women lost their status, or were enfranchised, they were prevented from bequeathing their Indian status and given rights to their children. This severed ties to their ancestry, separating them from their communities and further contributing to the destruction of their culture. Furthermore, the idea of an Indian woman giving up her status for a European man generated what scholar Rayna Green coined “the Pocahontas perplex,” creating the belief that if  Aboriginal women could not abide by strict Victorian standards she was deemed unworthy of respect. This led to many cases of sexual assault and as Lubicon Cree scholar Robyn Bourgeois later mentioned in an interview, these myths came along with severe consequences: “…this view hasn’t changed, and yes it is something I have encountered. The myth of the deviant Aboriginal woman continues to plague us, reinforced by dominant cases that coalesce prostitution and Aboriginal women into a single entity. Contemporary Canadian society dismisses violence against Aboriginal women and girls today on the basis of these perceived deviances… Human beings have the right to a life free from violence, yet we have to convince the Canadian state to step up and protect us. And these stereotypes provide the justification for why the State doesn’t step up’ (“Marginalization Of Aboriginal Women”).             The Canadian government continued to provide illogical justifications for their behaviour, as more conflicts arose between settlers and First Nations. A prime example of the government’s constant greed and inability to respect First Nation rights was the Oka crisis of 1990. Dating back to 1961, a nine-hole golf course was built on land belonging to the Mohawks despite protests that the land contained burial grounds for their ancestors. In order to protect their land, Mohawk protesters constructed a barrier, blocking access to the area. The government counteracted  by bringing in police forces, utilizing forced aggression to initiate their surrender. The Oka crisis also raised tensions between local non-native residents and Aboriginals. This conflict was supposed to be an awakening, as Stephen Lewis, Canada’s former ambassador to the United Nations and envoy for HIV/AIDS stated ‘I think if we had taken Oka seriously, if we had understood the insanity of a golf course vs. the rights of aboriginal peoples, if we’d understood back then that we were trampling on the rights of First Nations, we wouldn’t have had such a long and tumultuous time until today. And we still haven’t learned the lessons’ (News, Local).           Despite having multiple opportunities to learn from past mistakes and to recognize the poor treatment of First Nations, the government only begun the healing process and acknowledgement on June 11, 2008, nearly one hundred years after the beginning of the cultural genocide. On June 11, 2008, Stephen Harper apologized on behalf of the Canadian government and Canadians for the wrongdoings that were brought upon the First Nations. Since then, the government has taken procedures towards rebuilding relationships with First Nations such as establishing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal peoples, who work to create better circumstances for Aboriginals. Sadly, it was much too late for reconciliation and many First Nations did not want to accept the apology. Michael Cachagee, a former resident of Shingwauk Indian Residential School, was one of the many survivors who was enraged by Harper’s apology rather than satisfied; “I don’t want to hear it. You know, you might as well send the janitor up to apologise…if it’s just empty words or a nicely written text”  (“”Sorry” For Genocide?: Residential School Apology In Context | The Dominion”). With further investigation and analysis regarding Stephen Harper’s apology, it was found that he was severely lacking in details and criticized for poor choice of diction. Harper failed to acknowledge the creation of residential schools as a crime, hiding behind the term “on behalf of all Canadians,” implying that nobody is guilty if everyone is.      Although the government’s attitudes have improved over time, their actions have not matched their promises. Apologies cannot erase the trauma and pain caused by residential schools. Currently, 1.4 million Indigenous people within Canada suffer economically and thirty-six percent of native women live in poverty, many due to their loss of status. Twenty-seven years later, the government’s greed continues to impact the Mohawk land and other First Nations territory, forcing them onto poorly maintained reserves and denying them of proper compensation. Stephen Lewis, Canada’s former ambassador revealed that “In governmental terms, we’ve made almost no progress at all’ (News, Local). Whatever emotional impact Stephen Harper’s apology was supposed to illicit, Canada cannot simply ‘apologize’ for cultural genocide. Native reconciliation will never be achievable without turning back the hands of time. Only divine intervention would be able to revive the spirit of the Aboriginal culture in which Canadian ignorance has ultimately made it so.