Residential Schools

1883 - 1996
First Peoples children holding letters that spell "Goodbye" at Fort Simpson Indian Residential School in the North West Territories circa 1922. Source: J.F. Moran / Library and Archives Canada.Pinterest
First Peoples children holding letters that spell "Goodbye" at Fort Simpson Indian Residential School in the North West Territories circa 1922. Source: J.F. Moran / Library and Archives Canada.

In 1883, Macdonald supported the implementation of government-funded residential schools. These schools were brutal assimilationist machines, aimed at removing First Peoples children from their families and cultures and strictly enforcing "European" ways of life. For well over a hundred years, Macdonald's vision of institutions that would "kill the Indian, but save the man" functioned by punishing those who spoke their own languages or practiced their own cultures. The majority of students endured violence, abuse and horrific neglect, realities that lead to severe social and psychological issues amongst many survivors, their families and First Peoples communities.