For over 100 years, Aboriginal children in Canada were removed from their families and sent to institutions called residential schools. The government-funded, church-run schools were located across Canada and established with the purpose to eliminate parental involvement in the spiritual, cultural and intellectual development of Aboriginal children. The last residential schools closed in the mid-1990s.
During this chapter in Canadian history, more than 150,000 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children were forced to attend these schools some of which were hundreds of miles from their home. The cumulative impact of residential schools is a legacy of unresolved trauma passed from generation to generation and has had a profound effect on the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians.
Collective efforts from all peoples are necessary to revitalize the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and Canadian society – reconciliation is the goal. It is a goal that will take the commitment of multiple generations but when it is achieved, when we have reconciliation – it will make for a better, stronger Canada.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada completed the first stage of its work on December 18 2015, and issued a report of its findings. Further work will follow.
Archive of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s website: http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=3
Location of Commission’s final page: http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=905
Video entitled “What is Reconciliation?”