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

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

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta reports 1,731 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday

The province’s central zone has 992 active cases

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said growing COVID-19 case numbers continue to be a concern in the province. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta announces 1,077 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

There are currently 14,052 active cases in the province

File Photo
Sylvan Lake Town Council asks for a mask bylaw to be brought forward for consideration

The bylaw would require face coverings in all indoor Town-owned and operated facilities

The Sylvan Lake Food Bank with fully stocked shelves. File Photo
Sylvan Lake Food Bank to open for donations in lieu of Stuff-A-Bus

The annual stuff-a-bus event has been postponed until sometime in the new year

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

In this undated photo issued by the University of Oxford, a volunteer is administered the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Moderna chairman says Canada near head of line for 20 million vaccine doses

Trudeau created a firestorm when he said Canadians will have to wait a bit to get vaccinated

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre speaks during a news conference Monday, Nov. 16, 2020 in Ottawa. Poilievre says building up the Canadian economy post-pandemic can't be achieved without a massive overhaul of the tax system and regulatory regime. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Conservatives attack Trudeau’s ‘reset’ but they have ideas for their own

‘We don’t need subsidized corporate welfare schemes that rely on endless bailouts from the taxpayer’

There were 47 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta Tuesday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
Spread of COVID-19 in Brampton, Ont., linked to systemic factors, experts say

‘We’re tired. We’re numb. We’re overworked. We’re frustrated, because it’s not our rules’

A couple embrace during a ceremony to mark the end of a makeshift memorial for victims of the Toronto van attack, at Yonge St. and Finch Ave. in Toronto on Sunday, June 3, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
‘I’ve been spared a lot,’ van attack survivor says as she watches trial alone

Court has set up a private room for victims and families of those killed in the Toronto van attack

A person enters a building as snow falls in Ottawa, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. Ottawa has been successful in limiting the spread of COVID-19 during its second wave thanks to the city’s residents who have been wearing masks and staying home, said Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
People to thank for Ottawa’s success with curbing COVID-19: health officer

The city’s chief medical officer said much of the credit goes to the people who live in Ottawa

The Red Deer Games Foundation has made changes to its grant program as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo supplied)
Red Deer Games Foundation adjusts grant program due to COVID-19 pandemic

The foundation postponed the spring 2020 grant program due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Most Read