Canada's Residential Schools: Reconciliation: The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Volume 6

Book, 2015, 302 pp
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Between 1867 and 2000, the Canadian government sent over 150,000 Aboriginal children to residential schools across the country. Government officials and missionaries agreed that in order to “civilize and Christianize” Aboriginal children, it was necessary to separate them from their parents and their home communities.

For children, life in these schools was lonely and alien. Discipline was harsh, and daily life was highly regimented. Aboriginal languages and cultures were denigrated and suppressed. Education and technical training too often gave way to the drudgery of doing the chores necessary to make the schools self-sustaining. Child neglect was institutionalized, and the lack of supervision created situations where students were prey to sexual and physical abusers.

Legal action by the schools’ former students led to the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2008. The product of over six years of research, the Commission’s final report outlines the history and legacy of the schools, and charts a pathway towards reconciliation.

"This should be required reading for every pastor and church leader in Canada. Reflecting on the witness of residential school survivors and the research compiled over the course of six years, this volume details the complexities and challenges of reconciliation. But it also articulates clear paths forward. The call to the church is straightforward and demanding: "demonstrating long-term commitment to reconciliation requires atoning for harmful actions in the residential schools, respecting Indigenous spirituality, and supporting Indigenous peoples' struggles for justice and equity."

Editors' Picks for Further Reading from Quest for Respect: The Church and Indigenous Spirituality

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