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Racism in Canada

The research was to determine the extend of racism subjected to Inuit of Canada discussing the measures, practices and policies which have contributed to their oppression in various institution and the various measures which have been used to correct the institutional racism, determining their effectiveness.

System racism occurs when a racial group is oppressed, excluded or exploited by another racial group in terms of powers and privileges, because of differences in races origin. The individuals in the privileged groups demean, intimidate and undermine the less privileged dignity, considering them as inferior people. The victims of racism internalize the feelings of self hatred, and the victims’ self esteem is reduced.

In Canada, Inuit are the Aboriginal people of North American Arctic, Northern Alaska and Greenland. They originally lived on seacoast, in driftwood and sod made houses. They had a common language, Inuktitut, common cultural heritage, and hunted animals as a way to earn for their living.

System racism in Canada involved inequalities on operations carried out in society systems, involving discriminating elements. The Inuit were discriminated from the country’s practices, regulations and from engaging in institutional procedures. This led to the Inuit not having access to education, and the qualifications and skills achieved through educations. Lack of skills and qualifications limited the Inuit from participating in politics, economy and social life in equal capacity with other superior races in Canada. The superior races in Canada hated the Inuit to an extend the Inuit were not recognized in Canada as people with ability to perform duties equal to other people and this limited the Inuit’s’ freedom to enjoy the public life in culture, society and politics among others.

Racism was practiced in various institutions such as health care institutions, education institutions, and criminal justice institutions among others. Education institutions in Canada were one of the main institutions where racism was demonstrated. The Aboriginal people had less number of graduates from high school compared to non-Aboriginals, which subsequently causes large numbers of their people lacking employment, thus having lower income.

The Aboriginals have longer jail terms compared to non-Aboriginals, the few work never get promotions in their work places. This means that the Aboriginals remain poor due to racism, as they have minimal chances of earning income, as well as regenerating the income. In Canada, there exists a social-economic inequality, with Aboriginals dying poor, and non Aboriginals enjoying the heavy income.

The Aboriginals were illiterate and uncivilized and to help the situation, industrial schools were developed in the 19th century, and the schools gave practical matters as well as academic studies. (Dubourdieu, 2006, p. 43). The Aboriginal students were expected to attend these native schools, and they had no chance to share the education institution with the non-Aboriginal student. The instructional practices were only given to non-Aboriginal students.

The education got from native schools had minimal benefit to learners compared to the education taught in the learning institution of non-Aboriginal schools. The native schools had European teachers who abused the learners emotionally, sexually and physically.

The need to civilize the native people facilitated oppression. This is because the European took advantage of the civilization to grab the land of the native people, as well as to create special schools for them which discriminated the Aboriginal from the non-Aboriginal people.

The amendment of the rights facilitated the oppression because the Aboriginals were denied the right to have a lawyer who would help in advancing claims. Without lawyers, it was easy for non-Aboriginals to take the lands which were owned by the Aboriginals. The oppression was also enhanced by abuse of measures which were set to protect the reserve lands for farming and settlement of the Inuit and this led to the use of the lands for mining and forestry which were carried out by the non-Aboriginals.

The introduction of pass system in 1885 ensured that all natives leaving the reserves had to be permitted by farming instructors. Despite the fact that it was illegal, the natives could not fight in the court because they had no right to have lawyers, and no one from their group was a lawyer to help them. This promoted oppression.

Important cultural practices were banned for example the Potiach of the West Coast was banned in 1884 and also the natives’ customs were termed as barriers of European value. An Example of this is the Potlach of West Coast, which was considered to threaten private properties, principles which were being instilled by the government.

The native education policy and the government support of the native schools contributed a lot to racial oppression. The attendance of these school by Aboriginal students was compulsory thus no way to avoid the oppression.

There were racial equity policies established to correct the racism. These policies target to promoting equality in all aspects. The employment equity was to be promoted and this was to be achieved through the employment equity act of 1986.The education was freely offered to all Canadians without discrimination, with the development of elementary schools which replaced native schools. The establishment of constitution act of 1982 enhanced the recognition and affirmation of existing Aboriginal right.

To ensure equitable assessment, and instructional practices equitably, the education department supported the assessment which could enhance racial equity for all learners. The policy was to apply to all guidelines, procedures and policies involved with deporting assessments, administration and scoring of learners carried out by schools, school boards and provinces. The procedure of the policy was to ensure that the Aboriginals, racially visible and culturally diverse learners’ needs were considered in assessment and evaluation practices in accordance to guidelines given in Canada’s principles for fail student assessment practices for education.

The education department valued and respected learners’ first language and through the department the learners’ first language was to be considered as an integral part of the learners’ racial and cultural identification, and this together with valuing the language was to create a conducive environment for all learners despite their background. To achieve this, the department introduced English and French language programs as second language. This would value the learners’ first language and give chances for linguistic knowledge. Also the Universities were to offer education programs to teachers which would promote instructional practices and learners’ first language.

The education department was to support guidance, career, counseling and personal programs which would address learners’ heritage, experience, background, learning needs, aspiration and culture. (McKague, 1991, p. 73). These programs were to be developed in public schools and to adult learners.

Despite all these improvements, there is continued systemic racism in Canadian Aboriginal population, a factor which has led to continued socio-economic inequality outcome of Canada even in the present days.


Dubourdieu, K. (2006). Race and inequality. London: Ashgate.

McKague, K. (1991). Racism in Canada. Calgary: Fifth House.