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» babble   » walking the talk   » aboriginal issues and culture   » Prisons are the new residential schools

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Author Topic: Prisons are the new residential schools
babble intern
Babbler # 13401

posted 20 July 2008 10:14 AM      Profile for jrose     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here's a post from rabble columnist Jessica Yee over at Shameless.

Prisons are the new residential schools

This is something I’ve been saying quite a lot lately with the recent Harper apology for residential schools. Sure, government regulated residential schools might have closed, but they’ve been replaced with the systematic apprehension of our people forced to become prisoners yet again for reacting to centuries of abuse.

As part of their 8 part series on Crime and Punishment, this Sunday’s Toronto Star had a full front-page spread on Prisons Poisoning Natives.

Just to review the statistics:

-3.8% of the Canadian population is Aboriginal

-while we make up almost 20% of the prison population

-33% of our youth are currently incarcerated

I recently took part in a county jail and state prison panel in the United States where, for some reason, when we were discussing “minority” representation, no one knew that Native American youth are incarcerated 2.5 more times than White youth (some studies show as many as 40% of our youth are ending up in jail).

How much more can we handle? We’re still reeling from 500 years of colonization, and people expect that we should have bucked up and solved it all ourselves in the last 50 (not to mention the fact that colonization is still ongoing, you can look at the abhorrent resource extraction going on in Inuit territory for that).

We need our culture back, we need our youth back. They are our future and if we don’t have them, then we’ve lost the most sacred part of who we are as a people. (oh but they’ll try and take it away from us every chance they get, as proven by the recent removal of tobacco, one of the most important rituals to many Native cultures, in prisons).

The Toronto Star piece can be found here.

From: Ottawa | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 4140

posted 20 July 2008 10:31 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's not directly related, but it's interesting to turn the idea - that prisons are the new residential schools - upside-down and note that territories under occupation are also the new prisons. An example would be the cogent and powerful description by Ilan Pappe of the Occupied Territories on the occasion of the anniversary of the 1948 ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Here is the link. Pappe outlines how the "prison" conditions will improve, or worsen, depending on the conduct of the inmates.

Prisons are the new residential schools. And entire societies are put into prison-like conditions. Perhaps the metaphor of society as a prison is useful for all of us, and not just for FNs and the victims of Israeli occupation. We might see better what we all have in common.

From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 490

posted 06 August 2008 09:01 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm sad to say I am not surprised. I read up some on the way prisons are run in Canada and the USA, and the constant petty abuse of regulations and the regular denial of legally permitted rights to prisoners on arbitrary grounds is one of many ways in which the prison system, through the guards of prisons, exists primarily to humiliate and degrade human beings.

It is especially depressing precisely because of the disproportionate impact on Aboriginal people in Canada. One would almost suspect the prison system of being purposely set up so as to deprive inmates of useful ways to reintegrate back into society after their sentence is completed.

From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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