The Canadian Holocaust: The (Indian) Residential School Timeline

The Canadian government developed Indian Residential Schools in the 1800s to assimilate Aboriginal peoples and, according to Canada’s first prime minister, John A. MacDonald, get rid of the “Indian problem.”  So, not only was the state-legislated, genocidal law implemented by the church, …  in other words, children, ages ranging from 4 or 5 years old, were taken away from their Indian families, most times by force, to be put in these ‘schools’ and have their Culture stripped from them forever,  That was the plan,  and precisely the one that gave Hitler the idea for his undesirables, as he studies his enemies, ‘canada’ and the ‘united’ states.  But the negative impact of nearly 100 years of residential schooling on Aboriginal children and, through them, on Aboriginal communities was profound. Since the late 1990’s, residential school survivors have filed approximately 13,000 lawsuits against the government claiming sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the personel hired by the government and churches to run the schools. I guess we all have our heads in the sand on this one…

1620:   a Franciscan order opened the first boarding school at Notre Dame des Abeges near Quebec City [closed 1629]

1636:   Jesuits opened boarding school

1668:   Ursuline nuns opened a boarding school for girls

1680:   Boarding school failed

1763:   End of Seven Years War [British conquer French, Algonquins lose French as allies]

1763:   Royal Proclamation [drew a line separating Indian tribal lands from those forming part of the colonies, and initiated an orderly process whereby Indian land could be purchased for settlement or development. The Crown established itself as the Indian protector.]

1787:   New England Company opened the Sussex Vale school in New Brunswick

1790s: American-based Methodist Episcopal church first entered Upper Canada

1812:   War of 1812 and Tecumseh’s resistance [end of Aboriginal people as military allies and as a military threat]

1821:   Committee on Indian Affairs formed by Methodist preachers from the church’s Genesee Conference to which Upper Canada belonged as a district. Most of the attendees did not believe that “Indians” could be Christianized.

1823:   Peter Jones (Mississauga First Nations) converts to Methodist Church.

1826:   Egerton Ryerson first ordained Methodist missionary to the Credit River Indians

1820s: Flood of British settlers began in Upper Canada [Between 1813-1828, York’s (Toronto) population nearly tripled to over 2,000, by the 1850’s, the population soared to 40,000]

1829:   Mohawk Institute established at Six Nations by the New England Company

1830:   Shift of jurisdiction over Aboriginal affairs from military to civilian authorities

1830s: Removal Policies in U.S. and Canada

1845:   Government report to the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada recommends that Indian boarding schools be set up

1846:   Orillia Conference (Ontario)

1847:   Indian Affairs consults with Rev. Egerton Ryerson on setting up Indian Industrial Schools

1857:   Gradual Civilization Act passed [main focus became education as part of assimilation]

1867:   British North America Act [Legislation was passed under the act that abolished traditional Aboriginal government]

1870s: Between 1871 and 1887 the government concluded seven “numbered treaties” in the West that established a basis for Indian Policy on the prairies. Aboriginal people wanted to secure their livelihood and lands before settlers arrived

1876:   Canada adapted the Indian Act which gave the DIA the power exercise virtually complete control over the personal, political, social and economic life of Aboriginal people

1879:   Disappearance of buffalo

1879:   Under John A. Macdonald’s government:Regina MP Nicholas Flood Davin recommend removing Indian children from their “evil surroundings”. The US Industrial Schools of the United States were modeled after a prison commanded by Lt. Richard Henry Pratt, whose motto was, “the only good Indian is a dead Indian” … “Kill the Indian in him and save the man”

1880s: Churches started to build schools across Canada

1884:   Sir John A. McDonald introduces a bill to Parliament. The 3rd clause criminalizes the potlach [part of religious/cultural/political ceremonies] as a misdemeanor.

1885:   Indian Pass System [need a pass to leave or enter a reservation]

1885:   Riel Rebellion in Manitoba [grievances started in 1869: change in the transfer of Hudson Bay lands to the Dominion]: Other Cree chiefs who fought largely because the government had failed to live up to its treaty promises were hanged with Riel

1889:   Indian Affairs department held firm to Davin’s industrial model

1892:   Per Capita Grant for Aboriginal students [treaty requirements]

1896:   the Canadian government funded 45 church-run residential schools across Canada

1904:   The DIA issued two policies in consideration of western Canada to bring about quicker Indian assimilation which consisted of suppressing savage customs and improving Indian education and to reduce Indian reserves for the benefit of the expected setters [First Nations were pressured to give up portions of their reserves]

1907:   Montreal Star and Saturday Night reports on medical inspection of the schools

1907:   Indian Affairs Chief Medical Officer, Dr. P.H. Bryce, submits the Bryce Report

1912:   3,904 aboriginal children in residential/industrial schools

1920:   Duncan Campbell Scott, Deputy Superintendent of Indian Affairs (1913-1932), recommends Bill 14 which restated the government? right to compel attendance at Indian Residential Schools

“I want to get rid of the Indian problem. I do not think as a matter of fact, that this country ought to continuously protect a class of people who are able to stand alone. That is my whole point. Our Object is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed into the body politic, and there is no Indian question, and no Indian department and that is the whole object of this Bill. [Education is in the forefront of their requirements now.]”

1930:   75% of the all Aboriginal children between the ages of 7-15 in residential schools

1932:   8,213 aboriginal children in residential/industrial schools

1938:   The per capita grant issued for Aboriginal students was $180 [similar institution for non-Aboriginal in US and Manitoba were $294 to $642]

1943:   Recommendation made to integrate Aboriginal students in provincial schools

1945:   9,149 registered with only slightly over 100 students in grades over Grade 8

1946-48: A special Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons recommended that First Nation Children be educated in mainstream schools wherever and whenever possible.

By 1948: 60% of Indian school population was enrolled in federal schools. But in 1969, 60% were in provincial schools. The number was reduced from 72 schools with 9368 to 52 schools with 7704.

1949:   Canada signed the United Nations Genocide Convention on Nov. 28th and adopted it by a unanimous vote in Parliament on Nov. 21, 1952. Residential Schools continued to operate for some 30 years after Canada signed the Convention.

Article 2: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such(a) Killing members of the group;(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

1951:   Half-day system of school abandoned

1951:   Recommendation that pedagogy be changed to one that would be more familiar to the children, but this was not acted upon by the government.

1956:   Government began to look for parental input into education [parents themselves who had gone through the residential schools and were dysfunctional as a result]

By 1959: Number of Grade 9 – 13 has increased from 0 to 2144, in the next decade it rose 6834

1969:   Federal government completely took over management or closed all of the United Church-related schools

1970s: Schooling became the “battleground” for First Nations self government concerns.

1970:   Blue Quills Residential School in northern Alberta became the first school to come under control of a First nation.

1972:   National Indian Brotherhood of Canada called for an end to federal control of First nation schooling. (18) the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations) presented the government with its paper entitled Indian Control of Indian Education.

1983:   Last residential school in Canada was closed.

1980s: Stories of the victimization of Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal residential school students began to surface.

1986:   Apology made to Native Congregations by General Council

1988:   Assembly of First Nations published another report, recommending still greater control of their children’s education. Tradition and Education: Towards a Vision of Our Future called for the transfer of federal and provincial jurisdiction over First Nations education to First Nations control.

1992-3: Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council in BC conducted a research study of the effects of residential schooling on their members. They identified a range of physical, sexual and psychological abuses.

1995:   First Nations managed over 80 percent of the department’s education budget and 98 percent of on-reserve schools were under First Nations control.

Prepared by Lynn Jondreville (Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church) and Chang Lee (Marsville and Mimosa Pastoral Charge)

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