Unmarked Graves: Yet another Legacy of Canada’s Residential School System
An Interview with Niki Thorne
The residential school system, created by the Canadian government and run by Christian churches, was in place from the 1870s to 1996 and marks one of the darkest chapters in Canadian history. Forcibly removed from their families and homes, the more than 150,000 First Nations, Me?tis, and Inuit children who went through the residential school system lost their languages, their traditions, and their cultural practices in the process. Supposed to convert Indigenous youths to a Euro-Canadian way of life, residential schools were often located far from the children’s home reserves, a fact that further facilitated the children’s emotional, physical, and sexual abuse by church educators. The aftershocks of such brutality manifest themselves to this day in an exceptionally high rate of suicides among the survivors’ children and grandchildren.