Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre
Red Lake, Ontario

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Residential Schools: The Red Lake Story



The European Influence

The arrival of the Europeans changed the way of life of the Cree and Ojibwe

  • Developments such as fur trade, missionary activity, the signing of treaties, transportation, extraction of resources (mining, forestry, hydro-electric power) and tourism brought many people to northern Ontario.
  • Traditional economic activities were changed by the market type economy of the fur trade.
  • The social and family bonds of the extended family kin-groups were changed by the European concept of the smaller nuclear family.
  • Individual rights were stressed at the expense of group rights.
  • Education also changed. Instead of education being the reponsibility of the kin-group, it moved now to mirrored European societies where education was provided by the government in schools.
  • The extraction of natural resources was responsible for the establishment of villages, town, and cities across Northern Ontario in the traditional territories of the Anishnawbe people.
  • Pressure was put on Indian people to discard their traditional way of earning a living from a foraging economy and replace it with the Euro-Canadian wage economy.
  • However without proper education Indian people could not obtain part-time or seasonal employment.

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