Alert Bay, British Columbia, school, 1885. The federal government has estimated that over 150,000 students attended
Canada’s residential schools. Library and Archives Canada, George Dawson, PA-037934.
The Commission estimates than more than 6,000 children died in these schools while countless others endured hardship, deprivation and abuse.
OTTAWA, CANADA — Established six years ago, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission heard more than 1,300 hours of testimony and received close to 7,000 statements from individuals who were part the Indian Residential Schools in Canada.
During the course of 125 years, some 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were forcibly taken from their families and communities to attend Indian Residential Schools. The Commission estimates than more than 6,000 children died in these schools while countless others endured hardship, deprivation and abuse.
In the United States, the schools were known as Indian boarding schools.
This past week, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its 382-page final report.
A summary of the Commission’s final report states: “The Canadian government pursued this policy of cultural genocide because it wished to divest itself of its legal and financial obligations to Aboriginal people and gain control over their land and resources.”
The Commission has concluded that the residential schools were “part of a coherent policy to eliminate Aboriginal people as distinct peoples and to assimilate them into the Canadian mainstream against their will.”
The Commission’s final report contains 94 recommendations to move the co-existence of First Nations, Métis and Inuit with non-Native Canadians. Among the key recommendations are:
- on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a “framework for reconciliation.”
- A national public inquiry into ”the causes of, and remedies for, the disproportionate victimization of Aboriginal women and girls,” as well as consistent collection and publication of data on criminal victimization of Indigenous people.
- Elimination of discrepancies in funding for Indigenous education.
- Permanent funding for Indigenous peoples to carry out healing programmes, including language and cultural revitalization.
- Measures to address the continued removal of Indigenous children by the child welfare system, including addressing the underfunding of services that could better meet children’s needs within their own families and communities.
- Improved public education on Indigenous cultures and histories, and specialized training for lawyers, journalists and others.
- Issuing a Royal Proclamation to affirm the role of Indigenous peoples as full partners in the Canadian confederation, including recognition of Indigenous laws and legal traditions.
To read the complete Truth and Reconiliation Commission Report, click here