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Experts challenge residential school abuse allegations

Frontier Centre for Public Policy

May 21, 2024 – TheNewswire - Recent discussions surrounding Canada's Aboriginal Residential Schools have ignited fierce debates over allegations of widespread abuse against Indigenous children. In a new report released by the Frontier Centre, retired anthropology professor Hymie Rubenstein and Frontier Centre Senior Fellow Rodney Clifton critically examine these allegations and their implications.

Rubenstein and Clifton stress the importance of contextualizing the history of Indian Residential Schools. They note that claims of systemic abuse were rare before the closure of these institutions in 1996. Rubenstein asserts, "Sensationalizing these allegations, particularly targeting the Roman Catholic Church, has fostered an environment of misinformation and hostility."

The authors of Residential School Recrimination, Repentance, and Reality underscore the impact of sensationalized narratives on public discourse. Clifton emphasizes, "Acknowledging the efforts made by the Church and missionaries in a rapidly evolving Canadian society is crucial."

The controversy peaked with the Kamloops discovery, where the remains of 215 children were reportedly found. Rubenstein likens the outcry to "Canada's George Floyd moment," sparking widespread public outrage and demands for accountability.

However, Rubenstein and Clifton challenge the validity of these accusations, citing historical evidence. They dispute the portrayal of Aboriginal Residential Schools as genocidal institutions, arguing for a more nuanced understanding.

The authors also critique the Catholic Church's response to the allegations, arguing that it overlooks the positive contributions of missionaries. Rubenstein and Clifton call for a balanced, evidence-based approach to discussions on Residential Schools, urging against sensationalism.

Rubenstein and Clifton highlight the ongoing challenges facing Indigenous communities and advocate for genuine dialogue and reconciliation. They caution against oversimplifying complex historical narratives and call for a respectful discourse.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Hymie Rubenstein
Retired professor of anthropology at the University of Manitoba
Editor of
REAL Indigenous Report

Rodney Clifton
Senior Fellow
Frontier Centre for Public Policy

David Leis
VP Development and Engagement

About the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

The Frontier Centre for Public Policy is an independent, non-partisan think tank that conducts research and analysis on a wide range of public policy issues. Committed to promoting economic freedom, individual liberty, and responsible governance, the Centre aims to contribute to informed public debates and shape effective policies that benefit Canadians.


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