ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Education, Assimilation and Cultural Marginalisation of Tribes in India

The cultural marginalisation of the tribal people in India through the school system in pre- and post-independence India is discussed by drawing parallels with the residential school system that existed in the United States and Canada.


On 28 May 2021, Canada became the centre of world news. The remains of 215 indigenous/first nation children were discovered at a burial site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. Almost a month later, another discovery of the remains of 751, mostly indigenous children in another residential school, this time in Saskatchewan province was made. This unearthing is not new and forms part of a series of findings in Canada, being uncovered from time to time. Interestingly, one does not hear much of such findings in the United States (US), although the system of residential schools for indigenous children was well-entrenched there too. However, the US unlike Canada has been reluctant to transparency and a commitment to open its historical past in relation to the indigenous peoples and their children. The Canadian government openly apologised for the system in 2008. However, following the findings in Canada, there have been stirrings in the US and the interior ministry has already referred to the initiative to review the dark history of Native American residential schools.

The term residential schools refer to an extensive school system set up by the respective governments and administered by the Christian churches—Roman Catholic, Anglican, United, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches being the major denominations. The government’s partnership with the churches remained in place until 1969, and, although most of the schools had closed by the 1980s, the last federally supported residential schools remained in operation until the late 1990s (The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada 2015).

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Updated On : 6th Sep, 2021
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