Indian Residential Schools Agreement

The Indian Residential Schools Agreement: A Landmark Settlement in Canada`s History

The Indian Residential Schools Agreement is a historic settlement agreement that was reached in 2006 between Canada`s federal government, the churches that operated the residential schools, and the survivors of those schools. The agreement is a landmark in Canada`s history, as it acknowledges the devastating impact that residential schools had on Indigenous peoples and seeks to provide a path toward healing and reconciliation.

Residential schools were institutions that were established in the 19th century to assimilate Indigenous children into Canadian society. The schools were run by churches, with funding from the federal government, and were often run in a harsh and abusive manner. Children were forcibly taken from their families and subjected to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. The schools also sought to erase Indigenous culture and language, causing deep and lasting trauma.

The Indian Residential Schools Agreement was the result of years of advocacy by Indigenous groups and survivors of the schools. The agreement includes a number of key components, including a formal apology from the federal government, financial compensation for survivors, and the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

The formal apology, delivered by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008, acknowledged the « profoundly negative impacts » that residential schools had on Indigenous peoples. The apology was accompanied by a $1.9 billion compensation package for survivors, which included individual compensation payments, funding for healing services, and support for commemorative projects.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was established as part of the agreement to investigate the history and legacy of residential schools. The commission`s work included hearing testimony from survivors and their families, as well as documenting the history of the schools. The commission`s final report, released in 2015, included 94 calls to action aimed at promoting reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.

The Indian Residential Schools Agreement is a significant step toward reconciliation, but there is still much work to be done. The legacy of residential schools is still felt deeply by Indigenous peoples today, and the calls to action put forth in the commission`s report must be implemented in order to truly address the harm that was done.

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