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The Barnardo Children and the “Indians of Canada” Pavilion

It may seem that there is nothing worse for a kid who has been abandoned by their parents. Likely, some people make helping orphans and children from poor families the purpose of their life, as Thomas John Barnardo did. In 1866, he started taking care of vulnerable kids in London’s East End, and even though not all his practices appeared to be beneficial and effective, he is still remembered and respected by society. I do not think that his decision to send children to Canada was the best option, and I doubt that they had better lives in Canada than they might have had otherwise in Great Britain.

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Despite the fact that the Industrial Revolution was a significant period of time that has brought numerous benefits, it has also resulted in various harmful elements. Indeed, this Industrial Revolution-era England was not a proper place for kids as there was pollution, poor living and working conditions, child labor, and low wages. That is why philanthropic organizations started sending kids to a safer country. Nevertheless, it was not as secure as philanthropists like Barnardo imagined.

Some children were lucky to get to Canadian farmers who considered them their own kids; on the contrary, some people started maltreating them, and many orphans suffered because of their new life. It was common for farmers to deprive English children of schools, make them work more, abuse them, and perceive them as thieves. According to Daubs (2015), in 1895, a home child George Green was found dead at the Owen Sound farm of Helen Findlay. She later admitted abusing and beating him, which probably was the cause of death. Another example is John Frederick William Payne; he died in 1924 because his employee’s wife smacked his face (“Various stories of lost home children who died young,” 2020).

Therefore, I believe it would be better for those kids to continue living in England under the supervision of Barnardo and other decent philanthropists. Certainly, they would suffer the consequences of the Industrial Revolution, but it is always easier to survive through difficulties when being at homeland.

Expo 67 was Canada’s significant and critical celebration that was taking place from April 27 to October 29, 1967. This International and Universal Exposition celebrated Canada’s 100th birthday, and the theme chosen for this event was “Man and His World” (Lambert, 2015). Indeed, the whole fair itself was an essential event for Canada and the world, and every exhibition and pavilion deserved the attention and admiration they got (Lambert, 2015). However, the “Indians of Canada” Pavilion was particularly noteworthy, and it is crucial not to forget it even today.

The first reason for considering this Pavilion to be the most significant on that exposition is its purpose. The creators aimed at emphasizing an Indigenous view of history. From their perspective, the Canadian government and the non-Indigenous Canadians played a significant role in the history of colonialism, the Indigenous children’s assimilation in residential schools funded by the government, and the suppression of Indigenous values, traditions, and culture. That is why it is essential to pay specific attention to this Pavilion.

The second reason is the fact that valuable examples of Indigenous artifacts and art were presented at that exposition. The visitors got an opportunity to admire the objects of the past and get acquainted with another culture, understand its value, and rethink their attitudes towards cultural diversity. Finally, the third reason for considering this Pavilion noteworthy is the reaction of the government. They supported this controversial and frank message and admitted their partial fault in destroying the uniqueness of Indigenous culture.

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Daubs, K. (2015). A timeline of Barnardo’s and other child emigration programs. Toronto Star. Web.

Lambert, M. E. (2015). Expo 67. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Web.

Various stories of lost home children who died young. (2020). British Home Children in Canada. Web.

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