Official Denial


As we have explored the art installation entitled (official denial) trade value in progress, what has struck you about what you have learned? What comment did you choose to sew onto the blanket and why? What comment did you write into the book and why?

Please be sure to read the comments of others and comment on their thoughts
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22 thoughts on “Official Denial

  1. The comment in the centre is Stephen Harper stating that Canada has no history of colonialism. I think that this is not true because the residential schools display colonialism. The government forced aboriginal children out of their homes and into these schools to assimilate them. Many of them were physically and sexually abused.-Jared

  2. I have learned that in residential schools, they tried to take the Indian out of the Indian. Stephen Harper also apologized for residential schools. There are currently 80000 residential school survivors.

  3. What I learned is that the Indian were be sent to residential school many years ago, which caused a large number of people dead. There are currently 80000 survivors,and the leader of Canada had apologized for that. Danheng Shen

  4. I have heard of the residential school program before, but I had never heard stories from the residential school survivors before. Hearing the history of the schools from the mouth of someone who was actually there give a whole new perspective to the situation. Harper says that Canada has no history of colonization, but he also apologized for the residential school program. How can Harper say that Canada has no history if colonization when the residential school system is an obvious example of colonialism? To apologize for these horrible events and then saying that they never happened is like spitting in the eye of the entire Aboriginal population.

  5. Something that has struck me about what I've learner is that I thought residential schools were only a couple schools. I have learned that the residential schools were all across Canada and were a very widespread problem. In the book, I wrote that we should not take what Stephen Harper said too seriously because he probably did not mean to say that. I wrote this because believe that Stephen Harper did not really know what he was talking about when he made this comment. For the sentence that I decided to sew was there is really no compensation for the traumas. I chose this quote because it, at least to me is a very true statement and should be a good addition to the blanket.Evan Dupuis

  6. What struck me most about what I have learned is how the residential schools affected not just the generation involved, but also the children of that generation, and the grandchildren.I chose a very deep comment to sew onto the page: "It's only because of colonialism that you have the power and privilege to speak". I chose this comment because I thought that it was true, and also that it was very interesting, because no white people would be here if it wasn't for colonialism. My comment in the book was "if we have no history of colonialism, why aren't white people in the reservations?" I said this because it was the aboriginals land in the first place, and theirs to give, not ours to give.

  7. I did not know about the residential school problems that happened as little as 40-50 years ago. Learning all this information over the past 2 days has been a real eye-opener to the problems Canada has and still is facing. From the book, I chose the quote " When we can acknowledge where we are at, we can move on." This quote, to me, accurately describes the situation we are still in. By denying and trying to forget about the school problem, we have created an unbreakable wall between the aboriginal people and the rest of Canada. With Harper's apology, we have started the first steps to creating a new friendship between the aboriginal people and the rest of Canada and hopefully we can break the bonds separating our 2 groups. For my comment in the book, I wrote "When we as the colonizers are finally able to admit that we colonized Canada and assimilated the aboriginials, we can start to heal the wounds." This follows up on what I said before on the previous quote in the book; only when we can admit our faults can the rebuilding begin.

  8. The thing that really hit me during this activity is the contradiction made by Stephen Harper. It amazes me that the two quotes – the apology and the one cited on the blanket – came from the same man. The quote on the quilt essentially renders the apology moot. The residential schools were a widespread and critical problem. To give the people affected the apology they deserve and then take it away like that? It's a travesty.

  9. First nations were being sent to residential schools in order to assimilate them with western culture. Out of the 80,000 plus survivors, many peoplem fell into heavy drug and alcohol abuse. I wrote that Harper has to do mire then apologize publicly. We have act and back up what is said in order to change our future.

  10. I chose the same quote as Brooke: "because of my own grandmothers disgust in her own culture, I NEVER learnt to speak Cree." I chose this quote because I wanted to make it known to others that even today people are still affected by the residencial schools that once were operated. Some people are now not able to embrace their culture today. I felt this quote was appropriate for me because my dad only found out he was Metis a couple of years ago. Back in his family history, my ancestors wanted to hide the fact that they were aboriginal and never wanted to tell their children the truth. Luckily, because of my family history records, I was able to find out I am Metis; however I would of never known because of the shame my ancestors felt about their culture.I believe that Stephen Harper should not have apologized if he was going to turn around an deny the fact of colonialism. However, I think the quote from him may have been blow out of proportion and he should not have this huge grudge on him similarly to a recent event with air canada claiming they don't feel safe in downtown Winnipeg. Though I do understand Stephen Harper was wrong in saying this.-Alia

  11. I'm shocked to learn that stephan Harper had the audacity to proclaim to the world that Canada had never experienced colonization, but In 2008 apologized to the aboriginal people about sending them to residential school where they tried to" take the Indian out of them". Is this not colonization? Is this not the attempt to assimilate other cultures into the dominate one? How can the leader of the country be so self contradictory?The line I wrote was: since when did political lies replace honest respect. I believe this completely covers the thought process of Stephen Harper at the time. In order to impress and uphold global image in front of the G20 Stephen Harper told a painful lie.I also wrote "It saddens me to hear that Stephen Harper would rather uphold global image rather than conquer our recent issues within our own country. The man meant to represent canada has forgotten the most important holders of this land."this basically shows how disappointed I am in the man who is meant to talk to the world on our behalf. I believe the next time a country representative attempts to deliver a speech, they must truly represent everyone, not just the dominate culture.

  12. I had heard of Stephen Harper's apology to the Aboriginal people about the sufferings caused by residential schools in Canada; however, this project with the blanket introduced me to Harper's statement: "We also have no history of colonialism". I believe and agree with others that Harper is completely wrong in saying Canada has no history of colonialism since the existence of residential schools is an obvious example. Harper contradicts his own statements and takes the sincerity out of his apology. Harper is lying to the rest of the world in order to cover up Canada's darker history to protect the country's reputation.The comment I decided to sew onto the blanket was: "Let's not forget our own history and pass it on to the next generation". I chose this comment because I agree that it is important to aknowledge the truth about our past. It is important not to forget about where we come from and to not let future generations ignore their backgrounds either.Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to write a comment in the book. If I had, I would have likely written something along the lines of: How dare the Prime Minister embarrass us by denying the truth about our country's past.-Ann

  13. Stephen Harper's denial really stunned me during our class activity. I couldn't believe that our own Prime Minister would turn his back on our country's history. Clearly, Harper is not fulfilling his duty, as Prime Minister, to ensure that all Canadian citizens are treated equally. But I am glad that Leah created this project, because it revealed Harper's unwillingness to confront the true, unresolved issues of our country. I sewed the ironic statement: “learn to love with no strings”. Our Prime Minister issued a “sincere” apology to those who suffered in residential schools. But he erased this apology, a year later, by denying the existence of colonization in Canada, during his address at the G20 Summit. In other words, Harper temporarily cared for his citizens, by apologizing, and then discarded his apology when he had to appeal to another group of people. Obviously, he is not the kind of person who should be leading and representing our country. Harper’s actions demonstrated that he didn't really love his citizens because he didn't commit to them when there was a conflict of interest (global image vs. citizens). Therefore, the irony lies within the fact that one cannot love without strings. Like my classmates have commented, many people, including me, are disappointed in our Prime Minister because he failed to protect all of the Canadian citizens. I didn’t get a chance to write in the book, but if I had, I would have written, “I am ashamed that our Prime Minister still has not acknowledged the truth. If he doesn’t accept our history, we will never be able to mend broken bonds! Hopefully, sooner than later, we will find stronger string that will join the citizens together with our country's leader.”

  14. The comment that I sewed onto the blanket was "'Canada is a beacon of peace throughout the world' -Lies my teacher told me". I chose this because it's saying that no country is perfect, nor is Canada. I don't take Stephen Harpers comment too seriously because at the time he made the comment I'm sure he just wasnt thinking. I dont think he's trying to convince people that Canada doesnt have a history of Colonialism, he just didn't really know what he was talking about. Of course Canada has a history of colonialism, or else our country would not be english speaking. I wrote in the book "It also doesn't snow in the winter" because Harpers comment is just a straight lie, and so is my response. To be honest, nothing i have learned so far has stuck out because all of the basic information about residential schools and the apology, I have already learned in grade nine. One thing i learned was that the First Nations people are upset with the Europeans because we "didn't hold up to our promises" which is true. But i have experience having my cabin on Native Reserve land, and to tell you the truth they have not held up to the promises they made to us – so the problem goes both ways. If they want to be treated equally by everyone, I think the only solution is for them to stop getting special treatment and to live like everyone else. It sounds harsh but you can't expect to be treated equally if the government does not treat you equally as well.

  15. I have learned that the Hudsons Bay blankets that are so popular today were once used as carriers of sickness from the Europeans to the Natives on purpose. I have learned about the residential schools the Natives had been forced to go to as young children, and the long term effects of said schools. I chose to sew "This white man lies and lies and lies and lies and" because it stuck out to me, probably because of the repetition, but im not really sure.

  16. I chose to sew on the comment "Because of my grandmothers disgust with her culture, I will NEVER learn to speak Cree". This quote was important to me because I am Cree and I dont know how to speak Cree, but not because of my "grandmothers disgust". As well, many people from my generation's grandparents were sent to Residential Schools and had the "indian beat out of them", meaning their language and culture. In the book, I chose to write about my grandpa and my great grandma who were taken from their families at young ages and were sent to Residential schools. I recently visited the residential school my grandpa was sent to. My grandpa doesn't usually like to talk about his experiences at Residential schools.

  17. The comment I choose to sew into the blanket was, "Because of my own grandmothers disgust in her own culture, I NEVER learnt to speak Cree." This comment shows how the students of residential schools were made to think about their own culture and themselves. I think that Stephen Harper's comment about Canada having no history of colonialism was a slip of the tongue and shouldn't be taken as harshly as some people are. The fact of the matter is that Stephen Harper was the first and so far only Prime Minister to ever apologise for residential schools. I don't think he meant to hurt anybody with the comment and he likely made a mistake. Just because he is the prime minister doesn't mean he isn't human. One of the comments sewn on the blanket is "'Canada is a beacon of peace throughout the world' -Lies my teacher told me." Comments like this on the blanket make me think people are getting overly offended by Harper's comment. I think that people are focusing too heavily on this one unintentionally harmful comment he made instead of the good things he has done to help First Nations such as apologising for residential schools. Aboriginal issues are very complicated and are, in my opinion, being handled poorly. Getting angry at politicians and white people in general for things that happened in the past is not going to help anyone. The only way these problems can be solved is if everyone can remember yet get over what happened and begin moving on with their lives.-Sacha Guberman

  18. As we have explored the topic of Residential Schools, it was shocking to learn about it. It is hard to believe that this actually happened in Canada, and on such a large scale. You would never expect Canada to have this kind of history since it is now known across the world as a "Peace Keeper". However it is good that we are learning about our history rather than denying it like Harper did. It is embarrassing that our Prime Minister first formally apologized about residential schools and then said that we have no history of colonialism… hypocrite.The comment I chose to sew on the blanket was "It is only because of colonialism that you have the power to speak". I chose this comment because it is very true. Stephen Harper and many other non-First Nations people have the power to speak on behalf of the country because they were the colonizers and not the colonized. Since the colonizers (Europeans) were the more powerful ones, it enabled them to force unjust laws upon the colonized (First Nations), effecting them even till this day.In the book, I wrote that I was disappointed in Steven Harper, and embarrassed because of his denial of colonialism, which is totally false. I wrote my comment because as our Prime Minister he is supposed to help our country, not lie about our history and put on a "false image" in front of other countries. It makes me feel that he is embarrassed about our country, rather than being proud like a Prime Minister should be.William Liu

  19. What stuck me the most about all of this is Harper's message "We have no history of colonialism". It is funny that Harper apologized for Residential Schools yet he refuses to recognize the fact that colonialism played a huge role in Canada's history. And it did in many good and bad ways. I agree that because of colonialism, the Europeans have turned Canada into a thriving, well developed country with a western style democracy. However, because of colonialism, many native cultures where wiped out. Yes, our history is not perfect but we should recognize that no one is perfect. We should learn about our past to better our future. Denying the fact of colonialism will only make people angry. The main thing I've learned though this experience is that Residential Schools not only hurt the people who went to the schools but the next generations as well due to the cycle of abuse. In the book, I wrote the comment "No one is perfect; do not deny the fact that Europeans have done many terrible things. We should be looking to the future". Harper shouldn't have said this because he is denying something that is an important part of our history. It is okay because we all make mistakes but the goal is to learn from those mistakes so they do not happen again.

  20. What I learned is that the Indian were be sent to residential school many years ago, which caused a large number of people dead. There are currently 80000 survivors,and the leader of Canada had apologized for that.Danheng ShenI learn that European colonialism affected native Indians in variety of ways – most of them were bad to their culture and way of life. For example, Indians were put into Residential Schools. The White people used this as a tool to assimilate the Indians into the European culture. It shocking that a group of people would do a thing – it is unacceptable. Every person should be treated fairly. In the book, I wrote the comment "Harper is contradicting himself". This because he apologized for Residential Schools and he said Canada has no history of colonialism. He is denying the fact that Canada has been COLONIZED and it had a badeffect on the Indians living on the land. He say one thing but then he say the opposite. Not a good Prime Minister.

  21. The stories I heard from residential schools and its survivors made me understand what it was actually like back then. The fact that Stephen Harper, after apologizing for residential schools said that Canada has no history of colonization makes me question his true thoughts, but at the same time question if that is exactly what happened. I sewed onto the quilt the sentence “Cool story bro, tell it again.” I chose this quote because it ironizes history in some degree, and pretty much says that we can’t believe in everything we hear. I believe that as time goes by the original story can end up turning into something completely different, and maybe that was what happened to Stephen Harper and what people believe he said back then. Nina

  22. The stories I heard from residential schools and its survivors made me understand what it was actually like back then. The fact that Stephen Harper, after apologizing for residential schools said that Canada has no history of colonization makes me question his true thoughts, but at the same time question if that is exactly what happened. I sewed onto the quilt the sentence “Cool story bro, tell it again.” I chose this quote because it ironizes history in some degree, and pretty much says that we can’t believe in everything we hear. I believe that as time goes by the original story can end up turning into something completely different, and maybe that was what happened to Stephen Harper and what people believe he said back then. -Nina

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