The History of Canada’s Residential Schools – Catholic World Report

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Over the past fortnight, some dozen churches in Canada, many serving indigenous people, were torched. A dozen more, most in non-indigenous contexts, were vandalized. “Burn it all down,” tweeted the director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, to supportive cheers even in the legal community. The chaos ensued after discovery of the remains of hundreds of indigenous youths, buried near the residential schools in which they were enrolled under a policy backed by the Indian Act of 1876, amendments to which in 1894 and 1920 made attendance at residential or industrial schools compulsory for those who lacked access to day schools. The last of the former, many of which were operated by the Catholic Church, closed its doors in 1996. Over more than a century, about 140,000 children passed through these schools. Upward of four thousand—perhaps as many as ten thousand—passed away while attending them or expired soon afterward. How could this be? Who is responsible? Are the religious organizations who operated the residential schools the real culprits, as many suppose? A careful examination shows that supposition to be flawed. The tragedy, as we shall see, and the crimes it involved—crimes some are falsely characterizing as genocide—began with government-mandated violation of parental rights, an error gaining currency again today.

The History of Canada’s Residential Schools – Catholic World Report

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