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

TC Energy enlists Alberta to help finish US$8-billion Keystone XL project

Alberta government has agreed toinvest about US$1.1 billion (C$1.5 billion) as equity in the project

Sylvan Lake’s Flags of Remembrance ceremonies cancelled due to pandemic

The flags will fly along the lake and Highway 11 under the name “Flags of Unity”, Sept. 12-Nov. 12

Sylvan Lake Food Bank receives nearly $5,000 from local charity group

100 Women Who Care Sylvan Lake & Area have donated more than $20,000 to local organizations

Agriculture critical during and post-epidemic, Ag Minister says

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen held a call-in town hall meeting Monday night

A message from the publisher

Consider a voluntary subscription to Sylvan Lake News

Alberta’s energy war room to spend only on ‘subsistence operations’ due to COVID-19

Alberta’s energy war room to spend only on ‘subsistence operations’ due to COVID-19

Father of Humboldt Bronco disappointed Saskatchewan has relaxed trucking rules

Father of Humboldt Bronco disappointed Saskatchewan has relaxed trucking rules

Alberta education minister resists Opposition calls to rescind mass layoffs

Alberta education minister resists Opposition calls to rescind mass layoffs

Alberta Medical Association calls health-care changes irresponsible during pandemic

Alberta Medical Association calls health-care changes irresponsible during pandemic

Crosby, McDavid favourites again in NHLPA annual poll

Crosby, McDavid favourites again in NHLPA annual poll

Toronto not banning sports events through June yet, but other measures in place

Toronto not banning sports events through June yet, but other measures in place

Too little too late? Experts decry Mexico virus policy delay

Too little too late? Experts decry Mexico virus policy delay

Hope floats: Alberta town ravaged by flood rolls out parade float for COVID-19

Hope floats: Alberta town ravaged by flood rolls out parade float for COVID-19

Most Read