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Schools as “really dangerous places” for Indigenous children and youth: schools, child welfare, and contemporary challenges to reconciliation

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schools, reconciliation, education, Indigenous families, dangerous places, Indigenous children and youth, threat, racism, child welfare, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Abstract (summary)

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) final report called attention to the damage induced by government policies and practices and outlined a pathway toward reconciliation in which education and child welfare system reforms play a central role. Drawing from 61 interviews with teachers and parents of Indigenous children in Alberta, this paper addresses the question: what do intersections between schooling and child welfare systems contribute to prospects for meaningful reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada? Findings suggest that, despite formal commitments to acknowledge and address colonial legacies of residential schooling, obligations to fulfill state child welfare and educational objectives continue to situate schools, for many Indigenous families, as “dangerous places.”

Publication Information

Milne, E., & Wotherspoon, T. (2020). Schools as “Really Dangerous Places” for Indigenous Children and Youth: Schools, Child Welfare, and Contemporary Challenges to Reconciliation. Canadian Review of Sociology 57(1), 1-19.


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