Are We Getting the Truth?

Questions about the veracity of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Report on our Indian Residential Schools, and the meaning of the published death-rates in those schools, first arose when my colleague Rod Clifton, who worked for a year and a half in such a school at Inuvik, and whose wife spent ten years as a student in one, was asked: Was it really that bad? Grabbing little kids off reserves and forcing them into religious schools? Abuses, beatings, cultural genocide? He replied that many of the children “came to us straight off the land, hungry, sick, and poorly clothed, sometimes with mothers who begged us to take them in. But usually, they just straggled in with other children.” In some of the southern schools, this was a weekly-boarder situation. The children spent five days a week at the school, and went home on weekends to be with their families (if they had a family to stay with). (more…)