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Residential School Documents Advisory Committee begins work

By Randy Thoms Jun 29, 2023 | 4:45 AM

Residential school display, Fort Frances museum, 2018.

An advisory committee has started its work to identify how documents related to Canada’s residential school system are utilized.

The Residential School Documents Advisory Committee held its first meeting on Wednesday.

Various departments and agencies identified as many as 23 million documents related to residential schools.

The government says the collection goes beyond the type of documents required to be disclosed to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Additionally, more than 1.5 million documents and images were recently provided to the National Centre for Truth Reconciliation.

Chair, Chief Cadmus Delorme, says the documents hold importance to Survivors and family members of those who never came home.

“These documents that relate to Indian Residential schools, they have names and stories and validation to loved ones that some, to the unmarked graves, to some that just want to reconnect or know more about the journey of family members and so forth,” says Chief Delorme.

Canada was once home to 140 residential schools, mostly run by churches.

Chief Delorme notes sixteen sites have been confirmed the presence or identified suspect unmarked grave sites.

“So, there are 16 research teams across this country right now, coast to coast to coast, searching in archives, searching in church archives, their own personal oral stories and archives as nations and the government of Canada. And that’s the importance of our work here for the last two days is to transition around 19 million documents. A plan to transition 19 million documents outside of government and the reason to an institution that will support it.”

The committee plans to present a final report to government in 2028.


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