A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SYSTEM
The Indian Residential School System (IRSS), as defined by the federal government, is limited to 139 schools that operated across Canada between 1831 and 1996. This definition is controversial and excludes provincially-administered schools, as well as hostels and day schools. Residential schools existed in almost all provinces and territories, and in the North also took the form of hostels and tent camps. The earliest recognized and longest-running Indian Residential School was the Mohawk Institute, in Brantford, Ontario, which operated from 1831 to 1962. The last federally-run Indian Residential School, Gordon’s School in Punnichy, Saskatchewan, closed in 1996, and was subsequently demolished, marking the end of the residential school era. Source: Legacy of Hope Foundation. To learn more about the Indian Residential School System, please visit the Legacy of Hope website, in particular Hope and Healing: The Legacy of the Indian Residential School System downloadable PDF booklet.
View the map of Residential Schools of Canada and figure out which school was closest to where you live.
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has created an interactive map that provides information on Residential Schools by province, including photographs, the religious entity in charge of the school, and the years the school operated. You'll also discover information about events and hearings across Canada. Learn more.
We owe a great debt of gratitude to the Survivors of residential schools and their families. It’s through their courage and resilience and sharing of experiences that we are afforded a glimpse into what life was like before, during and after Residential School. Kinanâskomitin! Thank you! Unless otherwise noted, the stories that follow are from The Survivors Speak: A Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, released in 2015.
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- The Lifespan of Residential Schools
- Life Before Residential School
- The Number System
- Being Taken From Family
- Separating Siblings
- Culture and Language
- Health and Wellness
- Returning Home