UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds
Students at R.C. Indian Residential School, [Fort] Resolution, N.W.T.

TRC comes to an end

Still, residential schools statistics are hard for many Canadians to forget

By Dennis Gruending

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) will hold its closing events in Ottawa between May 31 and June 3, 2015. The TRC was established in 2008 as a part of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement in order to inform Canadians about the history and legacy of such schools. For more than 130 years, the institutions were operated by the government and by Canadian churches on the government’s behalf. A second portion of the TRC mandate is to inspire a process leading toward reconciliation within Aboriginal families, and between Aboriginal peoples and non-Aboriginal communities, churches, governments — and Canadians in general.

Here are some facts about residential schools that shouldn't be forgotten:

• In 1879, politician Nicholas Flood Davin visited the U.S. to observe residential schools and recommended them for Canada.

• In 1883, Canadian government minister Hector Langevin said, “In order to educate the [Indian] children properly we must separate them from their families."

• Also in 1883, the Canadian government began to provide funding to church-run residential schools.

• 132 residential schools in total were created.

• Residential schools did not exist in Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

• An estimated 60 percent of church-run residential schools were operated by Roman Catholics; 25 percent by Anglicans and 15 percent by the United Church of Canada. Presbyterians, meanwhile, ran two schools and Mennonites had three.

• 150,000 children were removed from their families and communities and placed in residential schools.

• More than 4,100 children died of disease or by accident while attending a residential school.

• In 1920, the deputy minister of Indian Affairs predicted that within a century, Aboriginal people would cease to exist as an identifiable cultural group.

• Also in 1920, the Indian Act was revised and attendance at residential schools was made compulsory for all children up to age 15.

• In 1960, status Indians were first allowed to vote in federal elections.

• In 1996, the last residential school was closed.

• An estimated 80,000 residential school survivors were accounted for in 2012. Today: 70,000.

• In 2006, Canada approved a settlement that led to a Common Experience Payment (CEP), which was made available to former residential school students.

• $10,000 was given to eligible former residential school students for their first year of attendance, plus $3,000 for each additional year.

• 105,457 of CEP applications have been received since 2007.

• 79,272 of CEP applications were paid as of Sept. 30, 2014.

• 23,892 applications have been deemed ineligible.

• $1,621,295,106 of CEP payments have been distributed in total.

• $20,452 is the average CEP payment.

• In 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued an apology to former residential school students.

• University of Manitoba is the home of the National Research Centre, which will house the statements, documents and all other materials the TRC has gathered.

• Eight out of 10 respondents to a 2000 Angus Reid poll said that they were aware of the residential schools issue.

• Five out of 10 respondents to a 2008 Environics poll said that they had heard or read something on the subject of residential schools.


Author's photo
Dennis Gruending is an Ottawa-based author, blogger and a former Member of Parliament. His work will appear on the second and fourth Thursday of the month. His Pulpit and Politics blog can be found at www.dennisgruending.ca.
Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!
Promotional Image

Editorials

David Wilson%

Observations

by David Wilson

If statues could talk

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Stolen Mother

by Observer Staff

The daughter and adoptive mother of one of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women share their story

Promotional Image

Society

July 2017

From far and wide

by Various Writers

Meet 11 immigrants who are putting down new roots

World

June 2017

A suitcase for Cuba

by Christopher Levan

You’ll find more than giveaway toiletries and hand-me-downs in the writer's luggage. Each carefully chosen gift offers a glimpse into the lives of Cubans today.

Justice

June 2017

Undocumented

by Kristy Woudstra

Up to half a million people are living in Canada without official status. The ‘sanctuary city’ movement is growing, but the fear of deportation persists.

World

June 2017

Resisting genocide

by Sally Armstrong

In August 2014, ISIS attacked Iraq’s Yazidis, slaughtering thousands and forcing women and girls into sexual slavery. Today, the survivors are fighting for their ancient way of life.

Society

April 2017

Dear Grandkids

by Various Writers

Six acclaimed Canadian authors write letters from the heart

Society

March 2017

Called to resist

by Paul Wilson

Liberal Christians in the United States test their faith against a demagogue

Promotional Image