Chronology of Events:1857: The Gradual Civilization Act is passed by the Legislature of Upper Canada, permanently disenfranchising all Indian and Metis peoples, and placing them in a separate, inferior legal category than citizens.
1874: The Indian Act is passed in Canada’s Parliament, incorporating the inferior social status of native people into its language and provisions. Aboriginals are henceforth imprisoned on reserve lands and are legal wards of the state.
1884: Legislation is passed in Ottawa creating a system of state-funded, church administered Indian Residential Schools.
1905: Over one hundred residential schools are in existence across Canada, 60% of them run by the Roman Catholics.
1907: Dr. Peter Bryce, Medical Inspector for the Department of Indian Affairs, tours the residential schools of western Canada and British Columbia and writes a scathing report on the "criminal" health conditions there. Bryce reports that native children are being deliberately infected with diseases like tuberculosis, and are left to die untreated, as a regular practice. He cites an average death rate of 40% in the residential schools.
November 15, 1907: Bryce’s report is quoted in The Ottawa Citizen’s headline.
1908-1909: Duncan Campbell Scott, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, suppresses Bryce’s report and conducts a smear and cover-up campaign regarding its findings. Bryce is expelled from the civil service.
November, 1910: A joint agreement between the federal government and the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist churches establishes the structure of Indian Residential Schools and the contractual obligations of churches running them. Duncan Campbell Scott refers to the policy of the government as that of seeking a “final solution to the Indian Problem”.
May, 1919: Despite an escalating death rate of Indian children in residential schools from tuberculosis - in some cases as high as 75% - Duncan Campbell Scott abolishes the post of Medical Inspector for Indian residential schools. Within two years, deaths due to tuberculosis have tripled in residential schools.
1920: Federal legislation makes it mandatory for every Indian child to be sent to residential schools upon reaching seven years of age.
1928: Sexual Sterilization Act is passed in Alberta, allowing any inmate of a native residential school to be sterilized upon the approval of the school Principal. At least 3,500 Indian women are sterilized under this law.
1933: An identical Sexual Sterilization Act is passed in British Columbia. Two major sterilization centres are established by The United Church of Canada on the west coast, in Bella Bella and Nanaimo, in which thousands of native men and women are sterilized by missionary doctors until the 1980’s.
1933: Residential school Principals are made the legal guardians of all native students, under the oversight of the federal Department of Mines and Resources. Every native parent is forced by law to surrender legal custody of their children to the Principal - a church employee - or face imprisonment.
1938: Attempt by the federal government to close all residential schools and incorporate Indian children into public schools is defeated by pressure brought by Catholic and Protestant church leaders.
1946: Project Paperclip - a CIA program utilizing ex-Nazi researchers in medical, biological warfare and mind control experiments - uses native children from Canadian residential schools as involuntary test subjects, under agreements with the Catholic, Anglican and United churches. These illegal tests continue until the 1970’s.
1948 - 1969: Offshoot programs of Project Paperclip are established in United Church and government hospitals in Nanaimo, Brannen Lake, Sardis, Bella Bella, Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia; in Red Deer and Ponoka, Alberta; and at the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital in Thunder Bay, Ontario. All of these programs use native children abducted from reserves, foster homes, and residential schools, with the full knowledge of church, police and Indian Affairs officials.
1969: Indian Affairs Minister Jean Chretien tables his White Paper in Parliament, which reaffirms the "assimilationist" policy of the past century that denies sovereignty and equal status to native nations. As a token gesture, Chretien assigns a limited control over Indian education to local, state-funded band councils. Many residential schools are phased out altogether or simply taken over by band councils.
1984: The last Indian residential school is closed, in northern British Columbia.
1990: State-funded leaders of the Assembly of First Nations discuss “abuses” in residential schools for the first time publicly.
1994-95: Eyewitnesses to murders at the United Church’s Alberni residential school speak out publicly, from the pulpit of Reverend Kevin Annett in Port Alberni. Annett is summarily fired without cause within a month, and is expelled from United Church ministry without due process during 1996.
February, 1996: The first class action lawsuit of Alberni residential school survivors is brought against the United Church of Canada and the federal government. The church responds with a counter-suit and an attempted “gag order” on Kevin Annett, which fails.
1996-7: Further evidence of murder, sterilisations and other atrocities at coastal residential schools are documented by Kevin Annett and native activists in public forums in Vancouver. The number of lawsuits brought against the churches and government by residential school survivors climbs to over 5,000 across Canada.
June 12-14, 1998: The first independent Tribunal into Canadian residential schools is convened in Vancouver by IHRAAM (International Human Rights Association of American Minorities), an affiliate of the United Nations. Evidence is submitted by dozens of aboriginal witnesses to crimes against humanity. The Tribunal concludes that the government of Canada and the Catholic, United and Anglican churches are guilty of complicity in Genocide, and recommends to the United Nations that a War Crimes investigation be held.
1998-1999: Under strong pressure from the government of Canada, the United Nations refuses to act on IHRAAM’s recommendation. Further evidence and reports of Genocide in residential schools is blacked out of the mainstream media across Canada. A concerted smear and misinformation campaign is launched by the United Church and the RCMP against Kevin Annett and his network’s efforts to document and expose genocidal practices by church and state in Canada.
October, 1998: The Vancouver Province reports the admission of United Church lawyers that their church has engaged in a joint cover-up with the federal government of crimes committed at its Alberni Indian residential school since at least 1960.
January, 1999: The New Internationalist magazine in Great Britain reports the findings of the IHRAAM Tribunal, including the evidence of murder in Canadian residential schools, but is subsequently threatened and silenced by United Church and Canadian government lawyers.
February, 2000: The number of lawsuits brought by residential school survivors climbs to over 10,000. The federal government introduces legislation limiting the number of such lawsuits. It also announces that it will assume primary financial responsibility both for residential school damages and the legal expenses of the churches which ran the schools, despite the fact that Canadian courts have ruled that the churches bear either a majority or an equal responsibility for crimes at the schools.
April, 2000: The federal Health Department admits that it used native children from four residential schools, including Port Alberni, in medical experiments during the 1940’s and ‘50’s, including the deliberate denial of vitamins and dental care to them to study the effects. (The Vancouver Sun, April 26, 2000)
August, 2000: The Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada is formed in Vancouver by forty-eight native and non-native activists, with Kevin Annett as its Secretary. Its mandate is to carry on the work of the IHRAAM Tribunal, and bring charges of Genocide against churches, the RCMP and the government of Canada.
February, 2001: The Truth Commission publishes its six year study of Genocide in Canada, “Hidden from History: The Canadian Holocaust”. A second edition is published in June. Efforts by the United Church to legally prevent its publication fail.
September-October, 2001: Judicial decisions in British Columbia and Manitoba deny the claims of residential school survivors that genocide was practiced, absolve the churches of any direct responsibility for damages, and block any future lawsuits from claims older than thirty years, when most residential schools were closed more than thirty years ago. (!)
October, 2001: New eyewitnesses come forward with first-hand evidence that native children are being used in west coast pedophile rings involving senior judges, politicians, church and aboriginal leaders. One of these pedophile networks operates out of the prestigious Vancouver Club.
December 15, 2001 - The Roman Catholic Church discloses that it hired a known and convicted sex offender and murderer, Martin Saxey, to work as a dormitory supervisor at its Christie Indian Residential School in Tofino, British Columbia, during the 1960's. Saxey subsequently raped and terrorized children at this school without ever being reprimanded or prosecuted.
April 27, 2002 - The first television documentary featuring eyewitnesses to murders in Canadian Indian Residential Schools is broadcast in Vancouver, on CTV's "First Story" program. The show is aired simultaneously in Winnipeg, Toronto, and Halifax. Rev. Kevin Annett and native survivors of genocide give their stories. On the same program, United Church official Brian Thorpe admits for the first time that criminal actions occured in his church's residential schools, validating the claims made by Rev. Annett, which had caused him to be expelled from the United Church in 1997 by Thorpe and others.
July 22, 2002 - A gag order in the form of a defamation lawsuit is brought by the government of Canada against Rev. Annett and others through its paid agent, Chief Edward John of the state-funded First Nations Summit.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction banning Rev. Annett from discussing the allegations of secret land deals, murder, drug trafficking and pedophilia made against Chief John and other state-funded native chiefs by members of his own tribal council, Frank Martin and Helen Michel. Chief John's lawsuit is handled by Queen's Counsel Marvin Storrow of Blake, Cassels and Graydon law firm in Vancouver. Storrow is a personal friend and legal counsel to Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
August 22, 2002 - Although Rev. Annett was never notified or subpoenaed, the lawsuit goes ahead and Ed John wins his injunction against Rev. Annett in the British Columbia Supreme Court. The injunction is granted by Judge James Taylor, who on behalf of the Law Society of BC helped disbar lawyer Jack Cram in April, 1994 after Cram had made similar allegations as Rev. Annett concerning possible pedophilia and corruption among judges and politicians in BC involving native children.
September-October, 2002 - Despite the injunction banning his constitutional freedom of speech, Rev. Annett continues to refer publicly to the allegations against Ed John and the conflict of interest of Judge Taylor, over Annett's radio program, Hidden From History, in Vancouver.
October 18, 2002 - A Restraining Order against Rev. Annett is issued by Judge Taylor, who also bans native eyewitnesses Frank Martin and Helen Michel from discussing their evidence about Ed John, and strikes their statements from all BC court records. Judge Taylor also indicates his intention to seek a banning of Rev. Annett's book on genocide in Canada, "Hidden from History: The Canadian Holocaust".
November 1, 2002 - Rev. Annett's latest book, "Love and Death in the Valley", is published by First Books in the United States. Acting for Ed John, lawyer Marvin Storrow tries to prevent its publication, but fails.
Early December, 2002 - An all-party Parliamentary meeting in Ottawa discusses "Hidden from History: The Canadian Holocaust", and "hashes over how to deal with all the Indians who are starting to talk about murders in residential schools", according to a source who was present.
December 14, 2002 - A sheriff from the Port Coquitlam office of the Attorney-General attempts to serve court documents on Rev. Annett, but is unable to locate him. The documents are reported to be either a summary arrest warrant for Rev. Annett or a more severe Restraining Order.
December 18, 2002 - A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva confirms that the Commissioner will "probably" be sending an official investigator to Canada in the spring of 2003 to examine evidence of crimes against humanity committed against native peoples. She confirms that Prime Minister Jean Chretien could theoretically be summoned to publicly answer charges of complicity in Genocide.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL: CANADA'S SHAME
"How smooth must be the language of the whites, when they can make right look like wrong, and wrong look like right."
Black Hawk, Sauk
Gentle Readers, if you read this page to the end, and stay in the moment while doing so, you are to be congratulated. I know it is difficult to believe that Canada, a western democratic nation of such rich cultural diversity, a nation of highly respected global peacekeepers, carries shame and prejudice of this magnitude towards thousands and thousands of its own citizens. I sing you an honour song commending your bravery, compassion and willingness to honour my Grandmother in wanting to know what happened so that it can never happen again.
If this page causes any trauma to those Indigenous persons who survived a residential school, there is a crisis line number that you can call, 1-866-925-4419.
May Your Spirits Be Strong.
TORONTO STAR - SATURDAY, JUNE 9, 2011
"There's no exact tally, but hundreds of First Nations children disappeared after b eing taken from their homes to attend residential schools from 1870 to the mid-1900s. That's the most startling discovery for Murray SInclair, the Manitoba judge who is chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission examining the effects of residential schools on First Nations Communities.
"Missing children - that is the big surprise for me," SInclair said in an interview during a Toronto visit this week. "That such large numbers of children died at the schools. That the information of their deaths was not communicated back to their families."
Manitoba has a very large population of Indigenous people; isn't it odd that Manitoba's first Aboriginal judge, appointed to Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench in January 2001, would have no idea of the death toll, and didn't or couldn't make the leap to a correlation between violent, hate-based crimes on such a huge scale and death. For thirty years, Judge Sinclair's main legal interests were civil, criminal and Aboriginal law!
The Star article goes on to say that the number of deaths are in the hundreds, when, the estimates have also been estimated at between 35%-60% of the 150,000 children who were kidnapped and savaged. 1909, Dr. Peter Bryce, general medical superintendent for Indian Affairs reported to the Ministry that between 1894-1908 the mortality rate in western Canadian residential schools was between 35%-60%. The statistic became public in 1922 (more about this below), That is between 52,500 - 90,000 children unaccounted for. Do we all really naively believe they died of natural causes? Mass graves have already been discovered. It is our holocaust.
The good judge had a breakfast meeting with power brokers from universities, the media, business and banking at the National Club; "He said it's important for the story of the schools to spread from our educational system to the corridors of corporate power."
You think we haven't tried and tried? Who really wants to hear that our country and churches are responsible for so many innocent deaths. Good luck with that, Judge Sinclair. Perhaps what might have been more compelling was to have some residential school survivors tell their story of humiliation, physical trauma and starvation over eggs benedict at the National Club; however, it probably would have required a set of squirm-proof chairs.
CANADIAN GOVERNMENT FINALLY APOLOGIZES
June 11, 2008, 1.00 p.m., Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stood up in the House of Commons and offered a full apology on behalf of all Canadians to those Indegnous people who were part of over one hundred years of residential school atrocities. It was a landmark day in the history of Canada, for this was the first time a sitting Prime Minister apologized to the First Citizens of this country.
APOLOGY FROM CANADIAN PRIME MINSTER, STEPHEN HARPER
"Mr. Speaker, before I begin officially, let me just take a moment to acknowledge the role of certain colleagues here in the House of Commons in today's events. Although the responsibility for the apology is ultimately mine alone, there are several of my colleagues who do deserve the credit. First of all, for their hard work and professionalism, I want to thank both the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and his predecessor, now the Minister of Industry. Both of these gentlemen have been strong and passionate advocates not just of today's action, but also of the historic Indian residential schools settlement that our government has signed.
Second, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge my former colleague from Cariboo—Chilcotin, Philip Mayfield, who for a very long time was a determined voice in our caucus for meaningful action on this sad episode of our history. Last, but certainly not least, I do want to thank my colleague, the leader of the New Democratic Party. For the past year and a half, he has spoken to me with regularity and great conviction on the need for this apology. His advice, given across party lines and in confidence, has been persuasive and has been greatly appreciated.
I stand before you today to offer an apology to former students of Indian residential schools. The treatment of children in these schools is a sad chapter in our history. For more than a century, Indian Residential Schools separated over 150,000 Aboriginal children from their families and communities. In the 1870’s, the federal government, partly in order to meet its obligation to educate Aboriginal children, began to play a role in the development and administration of these schools.
Two primary objectives of the Residential Schools system were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures, and to assimilate them into the dominant culture. These objectives were based on the assumption Aboriginal cultures and spiritual beliefs were inferior and unequal. Indeed, some sought, as it was infamously said, "to kill the Indian in the child". Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country.
One hundred and thirty-two federally-supported schools were located in every province and territory, except Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Most schools were operated as "joint ventures" with Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian or United Churches. The Government of Canada built an educational system in which very young children were often forcibly removed from their homes, often taken far from their communities. Many were inadequately fed, clothed and housed. All were deprived of the care and nurturing of their parents, grandparents and communities. First Nations, Inuit and Métis languages and cultural practices were prohibited in these schools. Tragically, some of these children died while attending residential schools and others never returned home.
The government now recognizes that the consequences of the Indian Residential Schools policy were profoundly negative and that this policy has had a lasting and damaging impact on Aboriginal culture, heritage and language. While some former students have spoken positively about their experiences at residential schools, these stories are far overshadowed by tragic accounts of the emotional, physical and sexual abuse and neglect of helpless children, and their separation from powerless families and communities.
The legacy of Indian Residential Schools has contributed to social problems that continue to exist in many communities today.
It has taken extraordinary courage for the thousands of survivors that have come forward to speak publicly about the abuse they suffered. It is a testament to their resilience as individuals and to the strength of their cultures. Regrettably, many former students are not with us today and died never having received a full apology from the Government of Canada.
The government recognizes that the absence of an apology has been an impediment to healing and reconciliation. Therefore, on behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, I stand before you, in this Chamber so central to our life as a country, to apologize to Aboriginal peoples for Canada’s role in the Indian Residential Schools system.
To the approximately 80,000 living former students, and all family members and communities, the Government of Canada now recognizes that it was wrong to forcibly remove children from their homes and we apologize for having done this. We now recognize that it was wrong to separate children from rich and vibrant cultures and traditions that it created a void in many lives and communities, and we apologize for having done this. We now recognize that, in separating children from their families, we undermined the ability of many to adequately parent their own children and sowed the seeds for generations to follow, and we apologize for having done this. We now recognize that, far too often, these institutions gave rise to abuse or neglect and were inadequately controlled, and we apologize for failing to protect you. Not only did you suffer these abuses as children, but as you became parents, you were powerless to protect your own children from suffering the same experience, and for this we are sorry.
The burden of this experience has been on your shoulders for far too long. The burden is properly ours as a Government, and as a country. There is no place in Canada for the attitudes that inspired the Indian Residential Schools system to ever prevail again. You have been working on recovering from this experience for a long time and in a very real sense, we are now joining you on this journey. The Government of Canada sincerely apologizes and asks the forgiveness of the Aboriginal peoples of this country for failing them so profoundly. We are sorry.
In moving towards healing, reconciliation and resolution of the sad legacy of Indian Residential Schools, implementation of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement began on September 19, 2007. Years of work by survivors, communities, and Aboriginal organizations culminated in an agreement that gives us a new beginning and an opportunity to move forward together in partnership.
A cornerstone of the Settlement Agreement is the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This Commission presents a unique opportunity to educate all Canadians on the Indian Residential Schools system. It will be a positive step in forging a new relationship between Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians, a relationship based on the knowledge of our shared history, a respect for each other and a desire to move forward together with a renewed understanding that strong families, strong communities and vibrant cultures and traditions will contribute to a stronger Canada for all of us. God bless all of you. God bless our land."