Snatched up in cattle carts and by bus, tens of thousands of indigenous children taken to Canadian residential schools run mostly by the Catholic Church lived a “paramilitary” lifestyle, waking early to pray, waiting rigidly in lines and enduring regular beatings, survivors said.
The experiences of indigenous children, forcibly separated from their families under a government policy later described as cultural genocide, are back in the spotlight after a radar survey uncovered evidence of the remains of 215 children buried in unmarked areas on the grounds of a Western Canadian residential school last month. read more
The system, which operated between 1831 and 1996, removed about 150,000 indigenous children from their families and brought them to Christian residential schools run on behalf of the federal government.
A Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) set up to investigate the impact of the residential school system said in 2015 that children were malnourished, beaten and abused as part of a system that it called "cultural genocide."