Residential School Timeline
Mohawk Indian Residential School opens in Brantford, Ontario.
The Indian Act is enacted giving Government the exclusive right to create legislation regarding Indians and Indian lands. This Act identifies who is an Indian and establishes related legal rights.
Sir John A. Macdonald authorizes the creation of residential schools in the Canadian West. Sir Hector Langevin, Secretary of State for the Provinces tells Parliament:
“In order to educate the children properly we must separate them from their families. Some people may say this is hard, but if we want to civilize them we must do that.”
Amendment to the Indian Act – traditional Indian ceremonies, such as potlatches and the Sun Dance, are prohibited.
Medical Inspector for Indian Affairs, Dr. P.H. Bryce, reports that health conditions in residential schools are a “national crime.”
Duncan Campbell Scott, Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs, makes residential school attendance compulsory for children between the ages of 7 and 15.
Major revisions are made to the Indian Act – women are allowed to participate in band democracy, prohibitions on traditional Aboriginal practices and ceremonies are removed.
Indian Affairs regional inspectors recommend the abolition of residential schools
Amendment to the Indian Act – Status Indians can vote without having to give up their status.
The Constitution Act is amended and now recognizes and affirms the rights of “Indian, Inuit, and Métis peoples of Canada.”
The United Church, the Catholic Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the Anglican Church, and the Presbyterian Church all issue formal apologies for their participation in the residential school system.
The Final Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples is released. It calls for a public inquiry into the effects of residential schools on generations of Aboriginal peoples.
Class action law suits begin to appear, including those headed by Willie Blackwater and Nora Bernard.
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine announces a class action lawsuit against the Government of Canada over the legacy of the residential schools.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologizes to First Nations, Inuit and Métis for the residential school system. Image credit – The Canadian Press: Fred Chartrand
As part of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement (IRSSA), the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is launched and hosts events all across the country to listen to Canadians who want to share their residential school stories.
First TRC National Event held in Winnipeg Manitoba.
Signing Ceremony officially recognizing the University of Manitoba and its partners as the permanent host of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
Final TRC National event held in Edmonton Alberta.
Closing Ceremonies of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
NCTR’s spirit name – bezhig miigwan, meaning “one feather”.
Bezhig miigwan calls upon us to see each Survivor coming to the NCTR as a single eagle feather and to show those Survivors the same respect and attention an eagle feather deserves. It also teaches we are all in this together — we are all one, connected, and it is vital to work together to achieve reconciliation.