25 Feb 2012

They Came For The Children-The Truth & Reconciliation Commission Of Canada

“In order to educate the children properly we must separate them from their families . Some people may say that this is hard but if we want to civilise them we must do that” .
Hector Langevin - Public Works Minister, Canada 1883

Canada native american children

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada have released an interim report “They Came For The Children” into the treatment of native American children in Canada from the late 1800s to the 1970s who were sent to government sponsored residential schools.

To say their treatment was appalling is an understatement . The children were taken from their families in a deliberate attempt to ‘christianise’ them and in effect kill off their customs and beliefs . At these schools a large number of children died from disease and ill treatment and they were subjected to both physical and sexual abuse.

Below a snippet from the report which hopefully will give you an idea of the children’s experience:

Although the death rates fell in the following years, there are no clear records as to how many children died while attending residential schools, and the total may reach into the thousands. As at Red Deer, many children were buried in school cemeteries. In some cases, parents never were told what had become of their children.
The memoirs of former residential school students are filled with remembrances of death and disease.

MeroveeRead the Report “They Came For The Children” (PDF)