Canada's Dark Secret

2017 ,    »  -   21 Comments
356
7.37
12345678910
Ratings: 7.37/10 from 46 users.
Storyline

It's an ominous history that dates back well over a century ago. It's a legacy that shames present-day residents of Canada, and its wounds have lingered over several generations. The country's Indigenous populations, much of which were of Indian descent, were forced from their homes at an early age, taken to a series of residential schools, and assimilated into "civilized" society through strict discipline and oftentimes abusive practices. Canada's Dark Secret lifts the veil on this horrendous system of indoctrination, and chronicles several of its tormented victims.

These policies were put into place by the Canadian government as an extension of the Indian Act of 1876, a piece of legislation which allowed institutions great leeway in their attempts to rid Indigenous people of their cultural identity. Residential schools were established to facilitate the process. If parents refused to relinquish custody of their children to these government-sanctioned institutions, they faced harsh penalties and prison sentences. Meanwhile, the punishment inflicted upon the children was even more grotesque once they arrived at their new homes.

The film imparts its harrowing tale through intensely personal testimonies. As she steps through the now barren and corroded classrooms of the Mohawk Residential School, survivor Roberta Hill recalls the horrors she experienced when she first arrived there at the age of six. Another survivor speaks of her best friend and classmate, who she suspects was beaten to death and buried among six thousand other children who are thought to have perished on school grounds. Bud Whiteye shares the story of how he was kidnapped from his reservation as a youngster, and he revisits the campus boiler room where he was sodomized by a member of the school staff. For these victims and others just like them, each barren school building is truly a haunted house.

The last of these schools closed in the late 90's, but their hideous imprint remains. A survivor's grief never ends, nor does the guilt of those who found themselves unwitting accomplices to these horrors. Canada's Dark Secret is a horror film in the truest sense. But by shining light on a history long-shrouded by time, it achieves a measure of catharsis for all involved.

Directed by: Rania El Rafael

More great documentaries

21 Comments / User Reviews

  1. cyberdog

    YAY! Great! Another white guilt documentary. It never gets old. Using documentaries and the internet to complain about forced assimilation into western culture has got to be the joke of the century. I am not even going to bother watching. The assimilated people are welcome to watch this, and cry about how unfair it is to be advanced enough to have the internet. While you are bitching about the unfairness, take the time to reflect that you have access to the single largest library of resources EVER assembled, far larger than has ever been dreamed of. The only thing stopping you from accessing this huge library of knowledge on the internet then using it to better yourself and advance yourself and the other members of your tribe far enough to build your own empire, is your own laziness.

  2. symphytum

    cyberdog, Surely you would not be implying that the gifts of civilization are the gifts of European civilization alone? Also, if your family achieved wealth and prosperity in part because it enslaved you, kept you in an attic room, and never let you learn your own name, would you be grateful to it because it let you live in the house and use the internet?

  3. T Laughlin

    yeah, that makes (little or no) sense. embracing history is about using it as a measure of ourselves. no guilt, just understanding, compassion, and reaching for the ever elusive truth, justice, and the american (canadian) way. we are the past in the present creating a better future by having collectively "been there". the internet is our chance to inform ourselves to that end. what is this empire and laziness thing of which you speak? please. empires never go really well for very long , and certainly not for everyone involved in them willingly or not, and one man's laziness is another man's rest. walk a mile in another person's shoes.

  4. stikman

    cyberdog? Why in hell would someone vomit out such a rant of a documentary which is seemingly so far below them they decide to not watch it but can not refrain from spewing human filth from their keyboard. Why in hell bother?

  5. Paul

    Another propaganda piece by AL Jazeera. Cyberdog you are 100% right. Ignore these imbeciles

  6. Al

    The system in Canada was specifically set up to destroy the lives and culture of the native peoples. That was the goal and aim from the very beginning. The Europeans wanted their land. It was ethnic cleansing on a massive scale. Those residential schools achieved that goal admirably.
    The result of this massive genocide is that the First Nations are committing collective suicide. The whole social fabric is unraveling. They have become alcoholics and dysfunctional. The same thing has happened to the Australian Aborigines.
    That's odd, because before the Whites arrived there were NO alcoholic Red Indians, and NO alcoholic Australian Aborigines; there was not alcohol either. Those people were doing just fine. They were getting along great.
    Then that White Wave showed up.
    Then everything disintegrated.

    Of course, if you think you are better than them, then perhaps you would like to trade places with the First Nations and Australian Aborigines. Let's see how YOU manage under their circumstances. Put yourself in their place.
    Let's see you walk a mile wearing their moccasins.
    Any volunteers?
    Then go for it!

  7. grace

    how can something that is so ingrained into the fabric of our history be used as a propaganda tool ???? jeeeeeeeez get a grip

  8. Al

    The system in Canada was specifically set up to destroy the lives and culture of the native peoples. That was the goal and aim from the very beginning. The Europeans wanted their land. It was ethnic cleansing on a massive scale. Those residential schools achieved that goal admirably.
    The result of this massive genocide is that the First Nations are committing collective suicide. The whole social fabric is unraveling. They have become alcoholics and dysfunctional. The same thing has happened to the Australian Aborigines.
    That's odd, because before the Whites arrived there were NO alcoholic Red Indians, and NO alcoholic Australian Aborigines; there was no alcohol at all. Those people were doing just fine. They were getting along great.
    Then that White Wave showed up.
    Then everything disintegrated.

    Of course, if you think you are better than them, then perhaps you would like to trade places with the First Nations and Australian Aborigines. Let's see how YOU manage under their circumstances. Put yourself in their place.
    Let's see you walk a mile wearing their moccasins.
    Any volunteers?
    Then go for it!

  9. Jereco

    Nice idea , I think it will help us

  10. B

    symphytum,
    The most excellent thinking response .

  11. Bruce Evans

    I haven't watched this, yet. But intend on doing so. I do want to state that, as a Canadian, I personally have no shame to bear. I had no role to play. I wasn't even alive. My parents and their parents have no shame to bear as they were neither aware or in the governments of the day. What is with this need to make the present feel guilty for the past?

  12. dee bee

    F*@kind U Paul y Cyberdog u both are just dumbest, blind non-thinkers ever... keep living life has a funny way of slapping you into consciousness one day...

  13. john

    Cyberdog, it seems especially cowardly to rant about something you didn't watch. lol

  14. Sharon Azar

    The Catholic Church has been doing things like this for a long time..they were complicit in the Doctrine of Discovery which Columbus used to conquer and torture Native Americans. Papal Bulls of the 15th century gave Christian explorers the right to claim lands they "discovered" and lay claim to those lands for their Christian Monarchs. Any land that was not inhabited by Christians was available to be "discovered", claimed, and exploited. If the "pagan" inhabitants could be converted, they might be spared. If not, they could be enslaved or killed. I am glad this film is exposing such horrors...

  15. Jennifer

    The documentary is not about making white people feel guilty its about exposing the TRUTH.
    Europeans have caused so much harm to so many groups of people like the Canadian and American red Indians, the Jewish holocaust, the transatlantic slave trade to name a few not forgetting the indigenous people worldwide who have become extinct. The Europeans claim to be Christians but the only god they love is called money and in there pursuit of it will trample over anything that stands in their way.

  16. Roger Andout

    Good exposé by Al Jaz.
    However, purely in the interests of broadcast balance, could it do an equal exposé on, say, the repression of women in Saudi Arabia, or the tolerance of homosexuality Iran, by using the freedom of speech tolerated in those regimes.
    Now those would be worth viewing.

  17. Patty brey

    Pine ridge reservation in the United States is the same story...since I put 38 families on my list for help 2 have died plus a child died Jan 1 of this year...many have no running water, heat or even beds to sleep on...I can't get kmart or walmarts to deliver a bed either....cold, calculating annihilation....our system is Satanic...and what has been done to the natives is planned for all of us including the imbeciles that defend this evil system were living under

  18. Patty brey

    Tourists...just drive into the Native areas and ask where the bodies are buried...everyone knows about this...dead children are buried under the Apple orchards all over Canada...land of Freedom and Democracy...I asked the question and was told the answer on the spot...tourists ...Go to Canada and ask the natives on the reservations...they'll tell you what it's been like living in the he'll hole called Canada

  19. Cindy

    Obviously Cyberdog and Paul are part of the Mentality of Humanity that haven't Contributed anything worthwhile to society but are the first ones to try to claim credit for it.....they're both Idiots!! Yes that's a Captital "I"

  20. Realistic Pessimist

    Those who fail to learn history...
    And some think this stuff doesn't happen anymore.

  21. Abidiginal

    Don't be mad NATIVES all over are finally coming together to expose truth to the ignorance that is from recent history. You haters act like it's all gone, done and did. We just getting started and landing back on our feet from all the sick twisted things that people like you did to KIDS, not one not two, but a whole country of children simply because we were a different color. Why not bring that to light, it's not shared in school because it's disguting and obviously the haters or more recent generation of haters can't handle the damn truth. So please keep whining from the seat of your homes, and keep hating while we continue to support and build a new world filled with love and peace! Together we stand, divided YOU fall!

Leave a comment / review: