After six years of intensive research and including 6,750 interviews, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission decided that Canada’s former policy of forcibly removing aboriginal children from their families for schooling can be described as “cultural genocide.”
The New York Times states the commission published a summary on Tuesday of what will become a multi-volume report.
It will recount widespread physical, cultural and sexual abuse at government-sponsored residential schools that Native, Inuit, aboriginal, and other indigenous children were forced to attend.
The schools, financed by the government but run largely by churches, were in operation for more than a century, from 1883 until the last one closed in 1998.
The commission documented that at least 3,201 students died while attending the schools, many of them because of mistreatment or neglect. It was the first comprehensive account of such deaths.
The Times writes that the report links the abuses at the schools, which came to broad public attention over the last four decades, to a number of social, health, economic and emotional problems affecting many indigenous Canadians today.
It concluded that although some of the teachers and administrators at the schools were well-intentioned, the overriding motive for the program was economic, and not educational.