- List of Canadian residential schools and locations of mass graves found thus far (by province west to east)
- Location of Mass Graves of Residential School Children Revealed for the First Time; Independent Tribunal Established
Canadian Holocaust -Try Not to Cry
Witness to murder at Indian Residential School
Irene Favel describes in a CBC interview (July 8, 2008) how she witnessed the murder of a baby by staff at the Muskowekwan Indian Residential School, run by the Roman Catholic Church in Lestock, Saskatchewan.
Mass Graves of Residential School Children Identified – Independent Inquiry Launched
Press Statement: April 10, 2008
We are gathered today to publicly disclose the location of twenty eight mass graves of children who died in Indian Residential Schools across Canada , and to announce the formation of an independent, non-governmental inquiry into the death and disappearance of children in these schools.
We estimate that there are hundreds, and possibly thousands, of children buried in these grave sites alone.
The Catholic, Anglican and United Church , and the government of Canada, operated the schools and hospitals where these mass graves are located. We therefore hold these institutions and their officers legally responsible and liable for the deaths of these children.
We have no confidence that the very institutions of church and state that are responsible for these deaths can conduct any kind of impartial or real inquiry into them. Accordingly, as of April 15, 2008, we are establishing an independent, non-governmental inquiry into the death and disappearance of Indian residential school children across Canada .
This inquiry shall be known as The International Human Rights Tribunal into Genocide in Canada (IHRTGC) , and is established under the authority of the following hereditary chiefs, who shall serve as presiding judges of the Tribunal:
Hereditary Chief Kiapilano of the Squamish Nation
Chief Louis Daniels (Whispers Wind), Anishinabe Nation Chief Svnoyi Wohali (Night Eagle), Cherokee Nation
Lillian Shirt, Clan Mother, Cree Nation
Elder Ernie Sandy, Anishinabe (Ojibway) Nation
Hereditary Chief Steve Sampson, Chemainus Nation
Ambassador Chief Red Jacket of Turtle Island
Today, we are releasing to this Tribunal and to the people of the world the enclosed information on the location of mass graves connected to Indian residential schools and hospitals in order to prevent the destruction of this crucial evidence by the Canadian government, the RCMP and the Anglican, Catholic and United Church of Canada.
We call upon indigenous people on the land where these graves are located to monitor and protect these sites vigilantly, and prevent their destruction by occupational forces such as the RCMP and other government agencies.
Our Tribunal will commence on April 15 by gathering all of the evidence, including forensic remains, that is necessary to charge and indict those responsible for the deaths of the children buried therein.
Once these persons have been identified and detained, they will be tried and sentenced in indigenous courts of justice established by our Tribunal and under the authority of hereditary chiefs.
As a first step in this process, the IHRTGC will present this list of mass graves along with a statement to the United Nations in New York City on April 19, 2008. The IHRTGC will be asking the United Nations to declare these mass graves to be protected heritage sites, and will invite international human rights observers to monitor and assist its work.
Issued by the Elders and Judges of the IHRTGC
Interim Spokesperson: Eagle Strong Voice
IHRTGC Sponsors include The Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared, The Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada, the Defensoria Indigenia of Guatemala, Canadians for the Separation of Church and State, and a confederation of indigenous elders across Canada and Turtle Island.
Residential Schools Public Service Announcement
Took the Children Away
And full listing of residential schools for each province in green
1. Port Alberni: Presbyterian-United Church school (1895-1973) , now occupied by the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council (NTC) office, Kitskuksis Road .
- A series of sinkhole rows in hills 100 metres due west of the NTC building, in thick foliage, past an unused water pipeline.
- Tseshaht reserve cemetery, and in wooded gully east of Catholic cemetery on River Road .
- Under the foundations of the present new building, constructed during the 1960’s.
-Skeletons seen “between the walls” .
3. Kuper Island: Catholic school (1890-1975) , offshore from Chemainus. Land occupied by Penelakut Band. Former building is destroyed except for a staircase.
- Immediately south of the former building, in a field containing a conventional cemetery;
- At the west shoreline in a lagoon near the main dock.
5. Mission: St. Mary’s Catholic school (1861-1984) , adjacent to and north of Lougheed Highway and Fraser River Heritage Park . Original school buildings are destroyed, but many foundations are visible on the grounds of the Park.
- Immediately adjacent to former girls’ dormitory and present cemetery for priests, and a larger mass grave in an artificial earthen mound, north of the cemetery among overgrown foliage and blackberry bushes,
- East of the old school grounds, on the hilly slopes next to the field leading to the newer school building which is presently used by the Sto:lo First Nation. Hill site is 150 metres west of building.
6. North Vancouver: Squamish (1898-1959) and Sechelt (1912-1975) Catholic schools , buildings destroyed.
Grave Site: Graves of children who died in these schools interred in the Squamish Band Cemetery , North Vancouver .
- Native burial site next to Sto:lo reserve and Little Mountain school,
- Possibly adjacent to former school-hospital building.
8. Cranbrook: St. Eugene Catholic school (1898-1970) , located on the St. Mary's reserve and recently converted into a tourist “resort” with federal funding, resulting in the covering-over of a mass burial site by a golf course in front of the building.
- Numerous grave sites are around and under this golf course.
St. Eugene's, Cranbrook
9. Williams Lake: Catholic school (1890-1981) , buildings destroyed but foundations intact, five miles south of city.
Grave site:Reported north of school grounds and under foundations of tunnel-like structure.
****Warning ! **** Please scroll to the bottom of this page to read What happened to the Children?--A Collaborative Project - Warning ! The photo included with article might be hard for some BUT I believe it is neccessary to include it for people to understand the horrible heartbreak that it was for the children to be separated from their familes ". . . four young homesick boys had left the Lajac School without permission. The youngest was seven years old. The eldest, nine. It was dark, and 20-below zero, but they missed their parents so they sneaked out of the school and started walking home, across the lake. . . "
1. Edmonton: United Church school (1919-1960) , presently site of the Poundmaker Lodge in St. Albert .
Some former patients of Canada's approximately 28 Indian hospitals claim that medical experimentation and forced sterilization were carried out in the hospitals.
Shingle Point School -for Inuvialuit; Shingle Point; opened 1922; closed in 1925 when an influenza epidemic was spreading throughout the region - no school for 4 years (Anglican)
- Anglican Indian and Eskimo Residential Schools http://www.anglican.ca/relationships/trc/histories/
by Kevin D. Annett, M.A., M.Div.
by Claude Adams
Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission is overseeing something called the Missing Children Project--a bold attempt to track and record the fate of every indigenous child who passed through the notorious residential school system. It's a kind of census of calamity. What follows is the framework of one story. I'd like to collect many more. If you have personal knowledge of a child who died while attending a residential school, and whose true story has never been fully told, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org , or post a comment to this blog (address under tittle). In so doing, you will be adding to the documentation of a sad chapter in Canada's history.
Jack Lacerte was barely three years old when it happened, but he has a vivid recollection of the day back in 1937 when the two priests knocked on the door of his home in Fraser Lake, B.C. The black-robed clerics wanted to speak to Jack’s dad Philippe, a caretaker at the local residential school.
Two days earlier, on New Year’s Day, four young homesick boys had left the Lajac School without permission. The youngest was seven years old. The eldest, nine. It was dark, and 20-below zero, but they missed their parents so they sneaked out of the school and started walking home, across the lake. By midnight, police later said, all four had frozen to death within a kilometer or two of their destination. But their bodies would lay in the snow for more than 16 hours before police and local townspeople even mounted a search party. (See photo above.) Their names were Andrew Paul (8), John Michel Jack (7), Justa Maurice (8), and Alan Willie (9). A fifth boy, Paul Alex (10) left the school with them that night, but returned on his own.
“Indian Affairs is sending investigators to look into this tragedy,” the priests told Phillip Lacerte, standing in the doorway. “They’ll be asking questions. You knew the boys. We want to make sure you have the story right. We’re here to tell you what we want you to say.”
Jack says his father objected. He told the priests he was raised in a Catholic school in Quebec, that he couldn’t tell a lie. The priests said he had 24 hours to consider his refusal to co-operate. But Philippe was adamant. He couldn’t take part in a cover-up. He realized that what he had to say about the treatment of the children at Lejac would reflect badly on his black-robed superiors. So he took a stand on principle, but it carried a bitter price: That same day, the school terminated his job, and he and his family were thrown out of their home on school property. All records of his employment at the school were erased. Jack Lacerte says his father sank into depression, and became an alcoholic. He died in a work accident in the 1950s.
Meanwhile, the full story of the Indian boys—why they ran away, why it took nearly a day before anybody started to look for them—has never been told: One more grim, shameful and incomplete chapter in the history of Canada’s residential schools.
* * * *
Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has a profoundly difficult mandate: to bring some kind of emotional closure to the survivors the 130 Indian residential schools. There are approximately 80,000 of these survivors, many of them past the age of 60, and almost all of them carry the psychic (and sometimes physical) scars of their experience. They have received compensation, and counseling, and an apology from the government and the churches.
But the TRC’s most challenging task may involve not the living, but rather the dead. Its Missing Children Project, headed by Ontario historian John Milloy, is seeking to create a comprehensive record of every child who never returned home. What are the numbers, 5000? Or, as some suggest, as many as 50,000? Did they die from TB or malnutrition? Where are the medical records? Did they die while fleeing abuse at the hands of their teachers? Where are they buried? Or if they survived, did they return to their homes, or were they passed on to foster parents?
Why should we concern ourselves with things that happened 70 or 80 years ago? What relevance do events like the Lejac incident have today? Milloy sees his project as a fundamental historical settling-of-accounts. For Canada’s aboriginal peoples, though, it’s much more than statistics. Says native activist Maggie Hodgson: “It is so important to know how we came to this place of collective grief. If we have these figures, then our people can begin to talk about their own holocaust.”
The challenges of the Missing Children’s Project are many: the problem of lost (or destroyed) records, the failing memory of the survivors, the missing graveyards and the unmarked graves, the agonies of the families, like the Lacertes, who were indirect victims of the schools policy. Was this a genocide, as some suggest, or a monumental act of carelessness [ ! ? ! ? ! ?] , as Milloy characterizes it?
Who am I?
A year ago I did a long investigation for Reader’s Digest magazine on the inadequacies of the compensation package that the Canadian government gave to the survivors of the residential schools. I got to know the players, and in my interviews with them, one question kept coming up: What happened to those many thousands of children who didn’t come home? I promised myself that I would try to answer this question, and I got to know people like John Milloy, and Maggie Hodgson. And people like Kevin Annett, a defrocked Anglican minister who claims the schools were part of was a deadly conspiracy. That’s an extreme view, which I don’t subscribe to, but many of Annett’s questions have not yet been satisfactorily answered.
Why should you care?
The residential schools are one of the darkest parts of 20th century Canadian history, and what they produced are at the heart of the country’s aboriginal problem. We’ll never understand the alienation of a million aboriginal Canadians, until we understand that impulses that created and maintained these schools, and what they did to several generations of children, whose deaths live in us all.
[And are still reflected in many aboriginal children today. If only one generation loses the model of a normal family, generations ever after are affected because they are raised by wounded parents who were not raised in a family environment. In earlier years, TV modeled "perfect families" - Some wounded children were saved by the examples of those television shows. But today the families on TV are all grossly disfunctional - So when any (Native or non-Native) child is raised in disfunction now, what hope do they have of finding a good family model ? ]