Kulturní Studia (Nov 2022)

Reparations for Historical Injustice and Intergenerational Trauma

  • Tom Flanagan

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 2, no. 2022
pp. 3 – 14


Read online

Canadian First Nations (Indians) are said to suffer historical trauma from attendance at residential schools, through loss of culture passed down across generations. But the empirical evidence for this claim is weak. Less than a third of Canadian Indians ever attended residential schools, and the average period of attendance was only 4.5 years. Moreover, the research on intergenerational trauma arising from attendance at the residential schools suffers from numerous methodological weaknesses described in detail in the paper. Claims of intergenerational trauma are being used to justify demands for reparations, but that amounts to transferring wealth from contemporary people who have done nothing wrong to other contemporary people who have suffered no wrong.