At least 4,000 aboriginal children in Canada died in residential schools, commission finds


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At least 4,000 aboriginal children died in residential schools, commission finds


Mark Kennedy, Postmedia News | January 3, 2014 | Last Updated: Jan 3 3:13 PM ET
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Anglican Church Archives, Old SunResidential school children students in a typical classroom. Thousands of Canada’s aboriginal children died in residential schools that failed to keep them safe from fires, protected from abusers, and healthy from deadly disease, a commission into the saga has found


OTTAWA — Thousands of Canada’s aboriginal children died in residential schools that failed to keep them safe from fires, protected from abusers, and healthy from deadly disease, a commission into the saga has found.

So far, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has determined that more than 4,000 of the school children died.

But that figure is based on partial federal government records, and commission officials expect the number to rise as its researchers get their hands in future months on much more complete files from Library and Archives Canada and elsewhere.


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The disturbing discovery has cast a new light on the century-long school system that scarred the country’s First Nations peoples.

Evidence has been compiled that shows residential school children faced a grave risk of death.

“Aboriginal kids’ lives just didn’t seem as worthy as non-aboriginal kids,” Kimberly Murray, executive director of the commission, said in an interview.

“The death rate was much higher than non-indigenous kids.”

The commission has spent the last several years studying a scandal considered by many to be Canada’s greatest historical shame.

Dave Chan / Postmedia News“Aboriginal kids’ lives just didn’t seem as worthy as non-aboriginal kids,” Kimberly Murray, executive director of the commission, said

Over many decades — from the 1870s to 1996 — 150,000 aboriginal children were taken from their families and sent by the federal government to church-run schools, where many faced physical and sexual abuse.

A lawsuit against the federal government and churches resulted in a settlement that included payments to those affected and the creation in 2008 of the commission. Its job is to hold public hearings so people can tell their stories, collect records and establish a national research centre.

The commission has also established “The Missing Children Project” to assemble the names of children who died, how they died, and where they were buried.

The list of names will be contained in a registry available to the public. Murray said the exact number of deceased children will never be known, but she hopes more information will come from churches and provincial files.

“I think we’re just scratching the surface.”

William James Topley / Library and Archives Canada Students pose for an undated photo outside Metlakatla Indian Residential School in Metlakatla, BC.

Many perished in fires — despite repeated warnings in audits that called for fire escapes and sprinklers but were ignored.

“There was report after report talking about how these schools were firetraps,” said Murray.

She said it was well known that schools were “locking kids in their dormitories because they didn’t want them to escape. And if a fire were to break out they couldn’t get out.”

Many schools refused to spend money on fire escapes. Instead, they built poles outside of windows for children to slide down. But the windows were locked, and children were unable to reach the poles.

“It’s amazing that they didn’t make those corrections in those schools. There are just so many deaths that I think could have been prevented if they had done what they were supposed to do.”

Some children died as runaways and were found frozen to death in snowy fields; others who tried to escape their abusers drowned in nearby rivers.

Among the most famous incidents involved the deaths of four boys — Allen Willie, Andrew Paul, Maurice Justin, and Johnny Michael — who fled the Lejac residential school in British Columbia on New Year’s Day, 1937.

It was 30 degrees below zero. They were found frozen to death on a lake. An inquiry at the time found one boy, wearing summer clothes, had “no hat and one rubber missing and his foot bare.”

Handout / Truth and Reconciliation CommissionAn undated photo of residential school students at confirmation class, St. John’s IRS, Wabasca

Murray said these types of deaths were far from rare.

“There were quite a few examples of children who ran away and died.”

Many died from tuberculosis because they were malnourished and were housed in poorly-ventilated buildings.

Some died of suicide, unable to bear the brutality of the schools.

The commission has even heard allegations — unproven by the commission — of manslaughter and murder.

“There are people who have been speaking out who say they’ve seen a child who was beat so brutally that they died. So there is that unanswered question: Whether the abuse was to the extreme that they were coming to their deaths at the hands of their abusers.”

“We have not found any records of confirmed manslaughter or murder but we have had people speak to that. Whether you are going to find that in a document is questionable.”

What happened to the thousands of children who died? Schools and the government would not pay to have bodies shipped back to their families.

And so they were placed in coffins and buried near the schools — some in marked graves, some in unmarked graves. Often, their parents in far-away reserves were never told what happened.

Murray said that although many of the deaths occurred up until the 1950s, children were continuing to lose their lives in more recent years.

“I think people can make it OK in their minds when they tell themselves it happened a really long time ago. I think it makes it easier for them to accept. But that’s not the reality.”

When the commission releases its report — likely by June 2015 — the massive document will chronicle the saga of deceased children.

Murray said the saga has left an “open wound” with First Nations communities.

“We hear from survivors and family members how important it is that they know what happened to their loved ones and to know where their remains are located.”


    42 Responses to “At least 4,000 aboriginal children in Canada died in residential schools, commission finds”

  1. Thomas Says:

    Scandalous and shameful….that a society throws their children away, and when out of sight, all is well! We will have no future without the minds of children…we do them a great injustice without respecting them, and nurturing them in appropriate ways into adulthood. Will they even want to give back to a society that causes injury and disability to their young? How does something like this happen on such a large scale?

  2. ClevelandGirl Says:

    One word — RACISM.

    Brown people of different hues were *always* seen as subhuman by RCC Inc. Indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere know that there is a papal bull that has never been rescinded that declares *all* of them to be property, livestock, owned by RCC Inc and managed by the Spanish and Portuguese in perpetuity. At best, “brown” children could be turned “whilte” through removing them from their culture, but they would always be subhuman.

    “Disposable” children is like the treatment of kids in Ireland. Abuse and neglect with intent to DESTROY is what was perpetrated against First Nations children. “Kill the Indian to save the child”, but if the child got killed in the process through “punishment” for speaking their own language or just being a child and profiteering by taking money meant to care for the children and starving them and providing inadequate and dangerous health and safety conditions, well, so what. That was/is the attitude in Canada, developing nations populated by “brown” people, AND THE U.S. at the Native American schools here. It happened here as much as it happened in Canada, even more so.

    I LOVE that the Hopi put a stop to the clerics raping their women and children in ***1680*** (See Book of the Hopi), killing and driving them off of Hopi land that long ago! To this day, there are no xtian churches on Hopi land, only on the borders just outside. The Hopi Kachina Yowe commemorates this event, showing the kachina holding a Franciscan crozier and knife or a crosier and severed head of a Franciscan priest. Yowe is referred to as a “punisher” Kachina, but you have to dig to find out just *who* he is punishing (i.e., RCC Inc and its clerics). The Hopi were/are smart, one of the few groups in the world that rejected evangelization outright early and rejecting the wholesale rape and abuse of their people, their values, and their beliefs. Good on ’em!

  3. ClevelandGirl Says:

    Another word — GENOCIDE.

  4. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    The world remains silent when such horrific events occur. Little if nothing was done to protect Native Americans when Europeans arrived. Genocide happened in North, Central, and South America.

    Nazi Germany = same thing, Genocide.

    If you feel like you’re gonna explode from all the horror, make sure you eat well daily, get adequate bed rest/sleep, walk as much as possible daily, and do volunteer work. Our lives are better when we do our part to make the world a better place for others. If you don’t want to work with people, please consider visiting and walking dogs/cats in shelters. Also, you can do volunteer work that involves protecting our natural resources. Or, listen to music and dance everyday for 20 minutes. Keep yourself warm when it’s cold and share what you have with others. It’s good medicine!

    Don’t give money to any religious organization. They receive lots of donations.

  5. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    nota bene: Should you spot a turd someplace, consider taking it to any church and drop it in their donation basket. They like it and somebody will most likely try to steal it and sell it! Those clergy and their loyal followers enjoy having fun and pulling pranks!

    and, I mean it!

  6. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    Incidentally, the numbers that I’ve read re: since the coming of Europeans to the Americans, the number of Native Americans that were murdered = 285 Million. If that’s not GENOCIDE, I don’t what is.

  7. Thomas Says:

    The loss of one young life, was one too many.

  8. ClevelandGirl Says:

    I have to credit Canada with owning up to their genocide of First Nations children. We *never* hear about the identical actions in the U.S., and things were just as bad or worse here at the same time, but Americans are never accountable for genocide and racism. It’s interesting to read any Native American newspaper and to see them tell the *truth* of what happened to them, especially about the papal bull (can’t cite the reference offhand), which they have petitioned the Vatican to rescind many times but to no avail. Until that bull is rescinded, they will always know that the Vatican considers them to be livestock. As long as the Vatican considers any *human being* to be livestock, it will *never* have any credibility, and considering that the buy-bull says we are all livestock for the consumption of their buy-bull god (slaves, livestock, plants, dirt, take your pick of subhuman descriptions of the human race), that will *never* change.

  9. Frank Lostaunau Says:



  10. Frank Lostaunau Says:


  11. ClevelandGirl Says:

    Thanks Frank! Those “gentle friars” were ordered to enslave and destroy the California Indians by the papal bull. All the missions should be torn down and the ground sown with salt. The bill must be defeated.

  12. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    What the hell is going on with teacher rapists: http://www.wnd.com/2013/12/39783/

  13. Thomas Says:

    So…the bastards were never holy men. Image and superiority were more important than human life. What the Church did behind closed doors were the most unchristian things imaginable…the lie these men lived deserves some time in hades.

  14. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    RCC tries to cut a deal with the police to suppress the names of child molesting clergy:



  15. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    Genocide investigation against Native Americans in USA by US Government:


  16. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    American Indian Children: http://www.peoplesworld.org/south-dakota-commits-shocking-genocide-against-native-americans/

  17. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    I will NEVER end: /www.google.com/search?q=crimes+against+american+indians&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

  18. Thomas Says:

    I am a firm believer in the goodness of human nature, but I also believe in the evil found therein. I know that there are good priests, and bad priests, good nuns, and bad nuns, good everything, and bad everything…but I still have faith and hope that the goodness in life wins over the evil. In 1963 a doctor…Dr. Andrew von Salza took pictures on a sunny day of a golf course in Florida. Only 2 shots came out and were printable. They were of Dominican monks who were burned and murdered in the early 1500’s because they were sympathetic to the treatment of the local Indians. These stake burnings were by the Spanish Franciscans who were cruel and twisted. You can find the information and pictures on line…but, even this does not blow the faith that I have in Franciscans out of the water. There are good Franciscans, and bad Franciscans. And if the Jesuit Francis were on the right tract to reform…He would burn the office of the Inquisition down to the ground.

    The Ghost Monks of Aetna Springs

  19. Augusta Wynn Says:

    And when the ” bad Franciscans” were sexually violating children, what did the “good Franciscans” do?

  20. Frank Lostaunau Says:


  21. Frank Lostaunau Says:



  22. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    PRISON FOR LIFE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/06/mary-kay-letourneau-teacher-jailed_n_4550740.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular


  23. Thomas Says:

    When the bad Franciscans were molesting children, the good Franciscans lost their voice. They were cowards, knew right from wrong, did nothing in order to protect their vocations, and broke their vow. They were to take care of the people of God…to love them second to God most high. They were to be gathering souls for the kingdom in the life after this one…but along the way, they lost their faith… because if they had one iota of faith, they would never have been a “bad Franciscan”. My theory is…that those who abuse children and others, were themselves at some point in time abused. The clerical life as it is became a front, a façade…a safe haven for abusers…no one would ever believe that a man of God would ever do such a thing—not even your closest friends…your parents. The hallmark of a good priest is that he says “no” and he says it often…even while standing in front of a firing squad.

  24. Augusta Wynn Says:

    So, is there any difference at all between “good” Franciscans and “bad” Franciscans? A system rife with systemic sexual violence against children and the “good” become silent? One begins to wonder about all religious communities of men with roman collars. Who do they serve with their complicity?

    Cardinal George of Chicago reminds us today that “mistakes are not coverups” in explaining away his facilitation of Father Daniel McCormack’s crimes against kids. No one told me, cardinal George whines: how could I know Father Mac Cormavk was guilty? George, who was aware of McCormacks pedophile ways long before he was in jail, defended McCormack’s reputation and he knows it. Mistakes? Tell that to the children Cardinal George’s Father Mc Cormack terrorized.

    How can anyone on earth believe that high falootin men who facilitate sexual violence of kids are priests of Our Lord? Cardinal George and all his ilk might try public atonement in sackcloth rather than blabbering on about the cultivated ignorance and calculated indifference he now calls “mistakes.”

    Until the Cardinals and bishops are sitting next to their perps in the pokey, be prepared to keep hearing about heinous crimes being called mistake, whenever it is they have time away from their altars.

  25. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    Thomas…It’s high time you do penance: http://bishop-accountability.org/priestdb/PriestDBbylastName-M.html

    Fr. McCormack is a seriously coo-coo former Catholic priest.

    Penance: Contact Trish at BishopAccountability and volunteer to help us track down photos of 5 perps from Missouri. We need the help and this assignment will put you in good stead with your creator.

    When you start preaching with comments, like “God most high” it’s time for you to join the rest of us on planet earth and help us track down some of the nasty Catholic filth…priest/nun perps in your own back yard! And, I mean it!!!

    Plus if you do it, I will take pudlo pudlat to the cracker jack store and get his some REAL TREATS!

    Is it a deal?

  26. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    Thomas – Missouri PERPS!


    track down their photos…gracias!


    chili talirunili
    mini smooth doxie
    court reporter

    pudlo pudlat
    mini wirehair
    undercover cop

  27. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    Nasty Nun: http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Catholic-nun-stands-trial-over-63-counts-of-physical-and-sexual-abuse-of-children-179462571.html

    Execute her and take her out of her misery!


  28. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    Missouri: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news13/2012_05_07_Dioceseof_Childproof30_Joseph_Starmann_3.htm

  29. Augusta Wynn Says:

    Frank L. Thank you for providing the link to the O’Connell story and St. Thomas Seminary. Alex Gibney, if he could stomach it, would do us another great service by filming it.

    Does anyone have any info on the press conference Bishop Anthony O’Connell gave as he stepped down? Can’t find it online anymore, and it is to me, a perfect example of the evil looney tunes in the episcopacy. O’Connell was a monster and was coddled like a saint. Even William F Buckley mocked his maudlin, deceptive, criminal goodbye.

    Praise now for the decent hearted.

    Thanks to all for your courageous outrage.

  30. Thomas Says:

    The difference between a good priest and a bad priest is that a good priest is not a friend of evil, always does the right thing, walks in the conduct of the pure of heart, and lives his life as a mission dedicated to the example of Christ, who was not the first priest…but was the first to be known as both human and divine. The most devious mistake that the Church has ever undertook was an attempt to make the sin in the ranks of its members invisible…and since these attempts were likeminded by the bishops, one would believe that instructions to do so were centralized…and the very top of the the episcopal vine knew well what the branches were up to. A vine cannot prune itself of decay.

  31. Thomas Says:

    Frank L…Easier said than done…do I look like a perp tracker? You try and fine time, and jump out of bed after working 20-24hr shifts. I wouldn’t know where to begin.

  32. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    Bishop Accused: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/bishops/accused/

    All you have to do is:

    1. Go to BAccountability
    2. Click on the colorful map
    3. Click on a State
    3. Click on a Diocese
    4. Type in the name of a perp with no photo on Google



  33. Frank Lostaunau Says:



    chili & pudlo
    mini doxies
    cheer leaders

  34. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    Bishop O’Connell: http://www.nashvillescene.com/nashville/a-bishops-bygone-days/Content?oid=1186750

    Not the video speech but quite revealing. He died…good riddance to bad rubbish.

  35. Frank Lostaunau Says:


  36. Thomas Says:

    Child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is not good for the heart either…the best thing for the heart….even better than a 3 tier banana split, is the revolt by a laity who is fed up!!!!!!!!! When, oh when???????????

  37. Frank Lostaunau Says:

    People revolt in different ways. My way of striking is to track down perps and posting their photos on line for BA. I always feel better and know that I’m doing my part in making the world a safe place for kids and vulnerable adults.

    I have a wonderful feeling of accomplishment when I’ve done a good deed!


    ps the revolt is already on…just not as many on board as we would like…still, it a wonderful start and the process is rewarding…

  38. ERW Says:

    The more sources with the information of those evil church men is spread around the internet, the more chances of the big shots finally doing prison time for their cover up.

    It is likely, that those criminal enablers are being black-mailed for having been abusers themselves, when they had power over seminarians. We just have to push harder for justice and restitution for victims, and harsher sentences for clergy criminal hypocrites.

  39. ERW Says:

    It might be easier to type in http://www.abustracker.org into the browser. The same website with daily new information as Bishop Accountability will come up.

  40. Thomas Says:

    The hierarchy of the Church cannot dispute those listed on BA, and they still drag their feet. Go viral and let the entire nation know…Catholic, and non-Catholic…that should turn up the heat.

  41. Augusta Wynn Says:

    Frank L, thank you for the O’Connell link. Frank D., thank you for your generous site.

  42. Thomas Says:

    Something is brewing in St. Louis concerning the names of abusive priests. The courts want them all. I can’t send any info because I don’t know how to link the information to the blog. Was in the Post-Dispatch last week…looks like there was extensive cover-up.

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