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Social Effects of Colonization on the Aboriginal People Research Paper

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The colonization of the Aboriginals resulted in adverse social impacts. The Aboriginals have been left out when it comes to accessing social and public amenities. The rate of unemployment among the Aboriginal youths is so high that most of them have resorted to crime and violence. Moreover, most of the Aboriginals live in poverty.


The colonization of the Aboriginal people resulted in various social impacts on the Aboriginals. The effects of colonialism have continued to haunt the Aboriginal people from generation to generation. Many of them face racism and discrimination when it comes to accessing various social amenities (Brown, Higgit, Wingert, and Miller 2005: 81). The Aboriginal youths have not been fully incorporated into society; thus, they are not seen as positive contributors to the development of the nation. Colonization also caused the erosion of the culture of the Aboriginal people. As a result, many of the colonized communities are characterized by behaviors such as drunkenness, depression, and violence (Kirmayer, Brass, and Tait 2000: 607).

The creation of residential schools inflicted pain and trauma on the Aboriginal people due to the segregation shown by the government, as well as society as a whole (Sutherland, Russell, Adams, Baird, Shearer, and Watson 2014: 125). The conditions that the Aboriginal people experienced while in the residential schools inflicted internal and social wounds that may take longer to heal (DeGagne 2007: 49). This paper aims to look at some of the social effects of colonization of the Aboriginal people, especially in Canada.

Racial and Cultural Discrimination of the Aboriginal People

One of the impacts of colonization on the Aboriginal people was discrimination. The problem started the moment the European population thought that the culture of the Aboriginal people was not appropriate and needed radicalization (Kirmayer et al. 2000: 608). The discrimination by the whites led to the creation of residential schools, where the Indians were forced to attend these schools against their will. According to DeGagne (2007: 50), a lot of injustices happened in those schools; the Indians were harassed at many times, girls were sexually abused, and the language used was mostly violating the beliefs and cultures of the Aboriginal people.

The extent of discrimination had escalated to include the government of Canada. The government of the day developed policies that would result in the segregation of the aboriginals due to the pressure from its citizens (Kirmayer et al. 2000: 608). Consequently, the Aborigines succumbed to a reserved life. As a result, the culture of the Aboriginals gradually eroded and was absorbed by European culture. Brown et al. (2005) indicate that a majority of the lifestyle diseases that the Aboriginals are experiencing today are as a result of the absorption of the Aboriginal culture into the culture of the Europeans (p. 84).

The Aboriginals did not have diseases like diabetes and obesity because their lifestyle allowed them to eat balanced diets and do a lot of physical exercises. This was contrary to what the culture of the white people was, as it involved more of a sedentary lifestyle and eating junk foods. Willows, Hanley, and Delormier (2012) signal that the rate at which the Aboriginals are contracting these lifestyle diseases is alarming. If the government does not intervene, then the whole generation of the Aboriginals will be in great danger in terms of health (p. 4). Willows et al. (2012) further point out that the prevalence type 2 diabetes mellitus among the Aboriginals is 3 to 4 times higher than the general Canadian population (p. 4).

One of the worst forms of discrimination that the government of Canada has continued to show even in the modern times is the refusal to have particular groups of the Aboriginals registered as citizens of Canada (Brown et al. 2005: 85). The Metis and the Inuit are the groups of the Aboriginals that the government does not register. The only Aboriginals that the government approves are those who were initially registered as North American Indians (Brown et al. 2005: 25).

Unemployment and Poverty

Unemployment is another major blow that the Aborigines have to deal with each day. It is a problem that has mainly affected the youths because they end up doing manual jobs, despite traveling from one city to another in the search for jobs (Sutherland et al. 2013: 128).

The Canadian society has not embraced the Aboriginals in totality. Moreover, society thinks that Aboriginals cannot contribute to the positive development of the nation. Another factor that has contributed to the widespread unemployment for the Aboriginals is the fact that none of the government is responsible for the welfare of the Aboriginals who decide to move to the city. Brown et al. (2005) narrate that it has never been clear who among the federal government, the territorial government, provincial government, and the Aboriginal government should be tasked with the responsibility of taking care of the Aboriginals (p. 85).

The above mentioned adverse social impacts that the Aboriginals have tolerated since colonization has contributed to poverty. When the youths and other classes of the Aboriginals lack employment, they end up not growing financially. Putting the Aboriginals into residential schools and reserves made it difficult for them to interact with others, learn from others, and improve their social and economic welfare. As revealed by DeGagne (2005), the segregation contributed to poverty among the Aboriginals (p. 52).

Poverty comes with other injustices, such as crime, violence, and murder; this has been true with the Aboriginals, as they have manifested these vices in a more pronounced manner. According to Willows et al. (2012: 5), the many cases of crime, violence, and murder are reported to emanate from the Aboriginals. Poverty has led many youths to engage in criminal activities in the search for money. Other Aboriginals have resorted to drug use as a way of reducing the depression that is fuelled by poverty and alienation (Kirmayer et al. 2000: 613). The above examples show that the colonization of the Aboriginals had significant social impacts on the Aboriginals, from one generation to another.


The colonization of the Aboriginals did not go well with the initial occupants of present-day Canada. The Europeans started to discriminate against them due to racial differences, and more precisely due to cultural differences. Many Aboriginals were forced to attend residential schools, where all forms of social injustices took place. There were cases of sexual abuse of the Aboriginal girls and physical violence against the boys. In addition, there were reserve areas where the Aboriginal families were forced to relocate, as their cultures were viewed as primitive. Some of the Aboriginals were compelled to abandon their culture and embrace the White culture.

This resulted in sedentary lives and lifestyle diseases, such as heart diseases, diabetes, and obesity. The government of Canada has continued to discriminate against the Aboriginals by failing to register some groups of the Aboriginals on the mere fact that they were not initially registered as North American Indians. Other forms of social impacts that have adversely hit the Aboriginals are unemployment and poverty. These two issues have contributed to social ills, such as violence, murder, and drug addiction.

Works Cited

Brown J., Higgitt N., Wingert S. and Miller C. 2005. “Challenges faced by Aboriginal youth in Inner City”. Canadian Journal of Urban Research. 14(1): 81-106. Web.

DeGagne M. 2007. “Toward an Aboriginal paradigm of healing: addressing the legacy of residential schools”. Australisian Psychiatry.15: 49-54. Web.

Kirmayer L.J., Brass G.M. and Tait. C. 2000. “The mental health of Aboriginal Peoples: Transformations of identity and community”. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 45: 607-616. Web.

Sutherland S., Russell L., Adams M., Baird R., Shearer H and Watson S. 2013. “Attending the truth and reconciliation commission of Canada national event in Vancouver”. Australian Aboriginal Studies. 1: 125-131. Web.

Willows N.D., Hanley J.G. and Delormier T. 2012. “A socialecological framework to understand weight-related issues in Aboriginal Children in Canada”. Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab.37: 1-13. Web.

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