Where are the Children? Museum Exhibit
Between 1892 and 1969, residential schools operated in Canada through arrangements between the Government of Canada and the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, United and Presbyterian churches. Although the Government was no longer officially involved after 1969, a few schools and hostels continued to operate into the 1970s and 1980s. Akaitcho Hall in Yellowknife did not close until 1996. One common objective defined this period-the assimilation of Aboriginal children.
Today, our information on residential schools comes to us from what we read in newspapers and see on the evening news. Short sound bites about lawsuits, sexual abuse, and churches going bankrupt, make headlines. Yet, over the decades, thousands of Aboriginal children across Canada-First Nation, Métis and Inuit-passed through these schools. The term, "residential school," represents the various types of schools that existed, from the small day schools on and off reserves, to the larger industrial and boarding schools in remote towns and cities. Some children attended these schools for a short time, others, for their entire schooling. Some graduated with useful skills, while many became self-destructive as a result of the physical, sexual and mental abuse that was inflicted upon them.
This virtual exhibition presents photographs largely from public and church archival collections, from as early as 1880 to the 1960s. Aboriginal youth want to know about the experiences of their parents and grandparents, the stories that have not been told. It is hoped that this website will bring healing and restore balance in Aboriginal communities by encouraging children to ask, and parents to answer, important questions about their family histories.