Honouring those who never came home: NCTR creating Memorial Register of children who passed away in Residential Schools
Currently there are only estimates of how many Indigenous children died at Residential Schools. Some children do not have any records of their deaths due to mismanaged, destroyed or lost records.
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) is beginning research and development on the National Residential School Student Death Register, the Memorial Register that will compile information about the children who died while under the responsibility of Residential School authorities. This is the first step in a significant and diverse project to remember and honour the Residential School children who never came home.
In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Missing Children and Unmarked Burials Working Group investigated the history of Indigenous children who died at Residential Schools. To date, the most accurate number is 4,200 children identified by name and unnamed death records. The NCTR has continued the work on the documents collected by the TRC to identify as many children as possible who died or went missing.
In March 2018, the NCTR received funding from Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) to support the implementation of Call to Action #72 – the National Residential School Student Death Register. This fits within the NCTR’s mandate to help ensure the history and dark legacy of Canada’s Residential School system is not forgotten.
The NCTR recognizes this project is of profound significance for Indigenous communities. In order to create a project that reflects the wishes and concerns of Indigenous peoples, we are asking for input from Residential School Survivors and Indigenous communities from coast to coast to coast to inform the Memorial Register’s development and design.
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