Residential schools were institutions that were established in Canada in the late 19th century, with the goal of assimilating Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture. The schools were run by the government and various Christian churches and were mandatory for Indigenous children to attend. The system continued until 1996, with an estimated 150,000 children being forced to attend.
The residential school system had devastating effects on Indigenous communities, as many children suffered physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at the hands of their teachers and fellow students. Many also experienced a loss of language, culture, and identity, leading to intergenerational trauma that is still felt today.
The government of Canada formally apologized for the residential school system in 2008, acknowledging the harm caused and committing to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report, which included 94 Calls to Action aimed at addressing the legacy of residential schools and supporting Indigenous self-determination.
The first residential school in Canada was the Mohawk Institute in Brantford, Ontario, which opened in 1831. However, the system did not become widespread until the 1880s, and it continued to operate until the late 20th century.
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