Well said. One thing to keep in mind is that some of the abuse was not intended as such, but was the order of the day to "help the natives". Society has become more sophisticated since then. In rural areas, residential schools were not only for natives... There is some tendency to cling to the past rather than move beyond it. Remember, deal, move forward. A lot of the "dealing" has to be done by aboriginals themselves, we can only support it.
Since the dark days, there are many, many programs that help an Indian get ahead if they want to. Free schooling with room, board, etc., tax free under some conditions, business advantages, preferential treatment for some jobs, etc., etc. The list is long.
Inter-generational effects of residential schools aside, how much more is there to really complain about, except the shock of meeting a new world? This was not the U.S. As for the passing down of school abuse, it's enough generations that you start to wonder if the current problem is more one of isolation for some bands, and a lack of something to do - no jobs in some of these places, or only a made-up one, with a big wage from the Council.
Hmmm. Let's be blunt. I had a girlfriend who had been abused by her father. I know what this can do. But even then, nobody is making Grandpa screw his 14 year old niece in return for booze. And if you think that's not happening on reserve...why aren't band councils doing something about it?
While schools were awful for some, not for all, and it did produce many of the current native leaders and lawyers. A bit of a Catch 22 there.
The vocal band members tend to idealize a society they never experienced, and that probably never really was. I had a band member explain the extended family to me, and it sounds great - when it works. Often it doesn't. Instead of the whole community looking after children, sometimes nobody safeguards them, and you get the Highway of Tears. No, it shouldn't happen anyway, but why are so many vulnerables put at risk? Because nobody cares enough about these young women to arrange a ride for them. Pretty simple. And the young women may not feel comfortable enough to ask. Stop talking about it and do something, when it's that serious.
The Pickton inquiry shows a bit of a travesty in terms of police work and communication, but it also shows that very few other people cared either.
Other aspects are also given a rosy treatment. It wasn't always harmony with nature, environmental stewardship and respect for all. Let's not forget that first nations practiced slavery, genocide of other bands on occasion, and mass killing of animals where feasible (bison). Today there can be incredible wasting of meat from hunting - shoot 24 caribou, butcher 4. Tools reveal what people do, if they have the ability.
It's a thorny issue and is going to take some time and good leadership in the aboriginal community.