“We [Indigenous Peoples and Muslims] come at life from a place of peace... from a place of honouring and recognizing the importance of our spiritual and religious practices...We have so much in common.” - Elder Joanne Dallaire
Students at Maingate Islamic Academy in Mississauga participated in a workshop called The Blanket Exercise, which explores the impact of colonialism on the indigenous peoples of Canada. Student reporters from the school Zaynab Mamai, Sumaya Abdulle, and Dima Traboulsi, with the support of their teacher, Sanaa Ali-Mohammed, wrote the following article about their experience.
Two primary objectives of the residential school system were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures, and to assimilate them into the dominant culture. These objectives were based on the assumption Aboriginal cultures and spiritual beliefs were inferior and unequal. Indeed, some sought, as it was infamously said, “to kill the Indian in the child.” Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, official apology, June 11, 2008