In the 77 years between 1892 and 1969, generations of Aboriginal children in Canada were sent to government-sponsored residential schools run by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, United, Presbyterian and other churches.
The physical and sexual abuse suffered by many of these children—along with the imposed alienation from families, communities and cultures—left scars that have been passed on from generation to generation. This legacy of abuse and intergenerational trauma is now well recognized. Sadly, Canada was not alone in its attempts to assimilate Aboriginal people through the education system. While educational policies and the criteria under which children were removed varied, many thousands of Indigenous children in the United States and Australia were taken away from their families and placed in boarding or mission schools.
Colonialism took different forms in New Zealand and Greenland: if judged by the lower socioeconomic and
health status of Indigenous people compared to non-Indigenous citizens, the consequences of colonialism
were equally damaging. This report explores colonization, decolonization and healing among Indigenous
people in these four nation-states.