CANADA: A Truth and Reconciliation Commission into Canada’s Stolen Generations – the children who were forced from their families into Residential Schools – has handed down its interim report.
The commission was set up as part of a $5 billion class action settlement in 2006 between the government, churches and 90,000 victims.
The policy stretched from the 19th century to the 1970s and saw more than 150,000 Aboriginal children forced to attend state-funded Christian schools to assimilate them into wider society.
They were not allowed to speak their languages or take part in cultural practices.
“Countless students emerged from the schools as lost souls, their lives soon to be cut short by drugs, alcohol and violence,” the commission’s interim report said.
The federal government has acknowledged that physical and sexual abuse was rampant in the schools, the Associated Press reported.
Commission chairman Justice Murray Sinclair said the policies damaged relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.
“It is commonly said that it takes a village to raise a child. The government of Canada took little children away from their villages and placed them into institutions that were the furthest things from a village you could expect,” commission chairman Justice Murray Sinclair said.