APTN News obtained documents from the federal government that, for the first time, uncover the mystery around what officials called day schools.
Of course the schools had little to do with education. They were set up to assimilate First Nation, Inuit and Métis children into Canadian society.
What hasn’t been known until now is the conditions at these 699 schools across the country, and how many died there.
This series answers some of those questions about a relatively unknown, dark chapter in Canadian history.
Day schools – often referred to as education centres and agencies in the documents – were run by non-Indigenous religious orders in partnership with the federal government.Inspectors like the one at Hazelton were in charge until principals took over school administration in the 1960s.
A log school built in 1892 had neither the heat nor power to handle the frigid winter conditions of northern Manitoba.
Still, a school inspector seemed satisfied.
“The school has a flag, there is plenty of good wood. One of the Indians, three years ago, brought an organ for the use of the school. This, to me, is strong evidence that the Indians are gradually becoming interested in the education of their children.”