The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation will reveal the names of 2,800 children who died in residential schools at a ceremony in Ottawa on Monday. Visitors to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg can view a new exhibit called The Witness Blanket Monday, December 14, 2015. The 12-metre-long installation is made of more than 800 items collected from the sites and survivors of residential schools, in the style of a woven blanket. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

VIDEO: Names of children who died in residential schools released in sombre ceremony

A total of 150,000 Indigenous children are thought to have spent at least some time in a residential school

Their anonymous deaths have been honoured and their names — hundreds and hundreds of them — are finally known.

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation revealed on Monday the names of 2,800 children who died in residential schools during a sombre ceremony in Gatineau, Que.

A 50-metre long, blood-red cloth bearing the names of each child and the schools they attended was unfurled and carried through a gathered crowd of Indigenous elders and chiefs, residential-school survivors and others, many of whom openly wept.

The list and the ceremony are intended to break the silence over the fates of at least some of the thousands who disappeared during the decades the schools operated.

“Today is a special day not only for myself but for thousands of others, like me, across the country to finally bring recognition and honour to our school chums, to our cousins, our nephews to our nieces that were forgotten,” said elder Dr. Barney Williams, a residential-school survivor and member of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation survivors committee.

“It is essential these names be known,” said Ry Moran, director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, which compiled the list.

Years of research were conducted on what happened to the many children who were taken into residential schools and never came out. Archivists poured over records from governments and churches, which together operated as many as 80 schools across the country over 120 years. It’s the start of meeting one of the 94 calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report issued in 2015, which called for resources to develop and maintain a register of deaths in residential schools.

A total of 150,000 Indigenous children are thought to have spent at least some time in a residential school.

The 2,800 on the list are those whose deaths and names researchers have been able to confirm. Moran said there are another 1,600 who died, but remain unnamed.

There are also many hundreds who simply vanished, undocumented in any records so far uncovered.

A number of national Indigenous officials spoke at the ceremony Monday, which felt much like a funeral for the many young victims of abuse and neglect in residential schools.

READ MORE: Orange Shirt Day sheds light on dark history of Canada’s residential schools

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Young Abbotsford cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

Abbotsford parents upset as district gets cohort exemption to maximize class sizes at elementary school

Classes and cohorts shuffled after division eliminated at King Traditional elementary school

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

COLUMN: We don’t need an election. But it’s 2020, so we’ll probably get one anyways.

There are only selfish reasons for the NDP to trigger an election this fall

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Most Read