College Essay Examples

Reflection Paper

While completing the research paper, I learned that churches and schools established by colonial masters within their colonies were necessary evils designed to serve two purposes. On the one hand, the schools and churches served as critical tools of civilization where native communities learned how to read and write and other mainstream society cultures. The colonial government is responsible for developing formal education systems and the current technological advancements among native communities (Schaefli, 2018). Aboriginal groups learned how to read and write after the introduction of the formal education system. On the other hand, the learning institutions promoted the erosion of indigenous culture and created an avenue for the mistreatment of indigenous people while facing minimal resistance. For instance, the Indian residential schools obliged indigenous students to reside at schools where they encountered several forms of abuse and neglect (Jung, 2009). The traumatic experienced that the aboriginal children faced within the residential schools continue to undermine the wellbeing, spirituality, and educational attainment of the contemporary aboriginal population. 

It is interesting to learn that experiences of trauma in one generation can have long-lasting effects on the health of the subsequent generations. Many children who experienced sexual, physical, spiritual, and psychological abuse at the hands of the caregivers within the residential school systems developed psychological challenges such as high suicide rates, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, and anger (Schaefli, 2018). Many of these children also turned to substance abuse which poses a challenge to community wellness. With little experience of nurturing family environments, the residential school survivors formed chaotic family systems that present with high rates of domestic violence witnessed among several subsequent generations. Canada’s residential school policy is also responsible for other several social challenges among the First Nations, such as disproportionate representation in white-collar jobs, poor housing conditions among the indigenous groups, high rates of indigenous homelessness, and high levels of aboriginal employment (Bombay, Matheson, & Anisman, 2014)

This case scenario implies that most communities in the world unknowingly continue to suffer from the traumatic experiences of their ancestors with the education systems of their colonial masters. The traumatic experiences can be more serious among indigenous communities exposed to slavery or those whose forefathers were assassinated. Most aboriginal communities continue to consider Europeans as being intellectually superior based on colonial encounters (Schaefli, 2018). In some parts of the world, colonialism led to an intergenerational form of dependence for donations and relief food.

I have also learned that decolonization is critical for the healing of traumatized communities, but anger and grief always take them back to the roots of colonialism. Learning about the social injustices triggers some negativity that leads to hatred and creates divisions typified by an “us and them” attitude (Jung, 2009). Therefore, aboriginal groups need to confront the many historical atrocities and focus on self-determination, which is essential in rediscovering their native language, spiritual, and cultural protocols (Bombay, Matheson, & Anisman, 2014). Erosion of indigenous cultural practices paralleled with the assimilation to the mainstream ways of life is a clear indicator that most aboriginal communities need decolonization. Most modern children are reluctant to learn their culture and have become increasingly westernized after learning about the European ways of life through formal education systems. Therefore, there is a need to enlighten native communities of the urgent need for collaboration in initiating and implementing appropriate strategies for decolonization. The process of decolonization, which entails rediscovery and recovery, closure, visioning, and commitment, learned from this assignment, is critical for self-determination and rediscovery amidst assimilation forces that face aboriginal communities.


Bombay, A., Matheson, K., & Anisman, H. (2014). The intergenerational effects of Indian Residential Schools: Implications for the concept of historical trauma. Transcultural psychiatry51(3), 320-338.

Jung, C. (2009). Canada and the legacy of the Indian residential schools: Transitional justice for Indigenous Peoples in a non-transitional society. Available at SSRN 1374950.

Schaefli, L. (2018). Exposing the colonial mind: Epistemologies of ignorance and education in Ontario, Canada (Doctoral dissertation, Queen’s University (Canada)).

Avatar photo

By Sandra Arlington

Sandra Arlington is a contributing writer to the Motley Fool. Having written for various online magazines, such as Ehow and LiveStrong, she decided to embark on a travel blog for the past 10 years. She is also a regular contributor to My Essay Writer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts