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Residential schooling and sources of Aboriginal disparity in Canada Feir, Donna Leanne


Abstract Indigenous peoples throughout the world live in more difficult socio-economic circumstances than their non-indigenous counterparts. This dissertation investigates the long run economic and cultural consequences of one of the most infamous policies to affect Indigenous peoples: the forcible removal of children from their homes and their placement in boarding schools (also known as residential schools). These sorts of policies were instituted in numerous countries throughout the world, including the United States, Canada, and Australia, and they have been heavily criticized. The policies have often had the stated goal of cultural assimilation, are generally perceived to have been educational failures and to have harmed Indigenous peoples both directly and intergenerationally. I investigate these possibilities using several sources of variation. I find that attendance at a residential school is associated with both economic and cultural assimilation but I do not find strong evidence that this is transmitted intergenerationally. The results suggest that while residential schooling had significant impacts, it is likely not the predominate cause of the economic disparity observed today. To get a sense of plausible alternative explanations of Indigenous disparity in the Canada context, I finish by establishing some of the basic patterns in earnings differences between Indigenous groups and their non-indigenous counterparts.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada