A deadly crime spree on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, highlights the similarities of crime and drug abuse which also plague reservations in the United States just as they do here in Canada. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/03/us/wind-river-indian-reservation-where-brutality-is-banal.html?_r=1&sq=Timothy Williams, Indian Reservation&st=cse&scp=1&pagewanted=print.

Average life spans on American reservations are 49 years, twenty fewer than in Iraq. Unemployment hovers around 80 percent whereas the rate for all Wyoming is 6 percent. Teenagers are twice as likely to kill themselves as their peers elsewhere in Wyoming. The high school drop-out rate is twice the state average. Child abuse, teen pregnancy, sexual assault are endemic. Alcoholism and drug abuse are so prevalent that positive results on drug tests prevent aboriginals from getting jobs on Wyoming’s booming oil fields.

What the hell is wrong with this picture? Why do aboriginals in North America continue to spiral into this endless vortex of hopelessness? What prevents them from thriving like immigrants from war torn countries such as the Vietnamese who faced circumstances that were in many cases far worse than what was ever experienced in residential schools and who find a way to shake off the tragedies of the past and move on.

Are these the same sorry circumstances that resulted in governments setting up the residential schools in the first place? As a way to help  aboriginal kids to escape a culture that does not provide the framework to enable them to earn their place in mainstream society. I pity the kids borne into this cultural prison since there appears to be no way out, except by slitting your own throat or losing your mind in a bag of gas fumes.