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Residential school report and map supports Survivor access to information about sites and buildings

Press Release

From: Indigenous Services Canada

June 28, 2024

The Government of Canada is working to make information about residential school sites and buildings more accessible to Survivors, Indigenous communities and researchers as part of efforts to ensure that data about Indigenous Peoples is made available for their use.

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services, announced the launch of a new interactive mapping tool and environmental scan report of the 140 former residential schools recognized in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. These tools make publicly held data and information about residential schools more accessible, reducing the barriers that Survivors and their families and communities face when trying to find data and information about former sites and buildings. These tools support Indigenous Data Sovereignty, which is a key part of Indigenous cultural heritage, an important means of capturing and sharing collective stories, and central to reconciliation and Indigenous self-determination.

The Former Indian Residential Schools Environmental Scan: Status of Sites and Buildings report is the culmination of work by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) that began in 2022–2023. The Department used publicly accessible research and datasets to investigate the current condition and ownership of former residential schools sites and buildings. ISC commissioned the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to develop a companion report that sets out considerations, approaches and principles that should be taken into account for any local or national engagement with Indigenous partners concerning future use or protection of former residential school sites and buildings. To further complement this work, ISC created an interactive map that allows users to visualize the location and historical context of former residential school sites. The mapping application integrates contemporary and historical aerial photos, providing a powerful tool for Survivors. The environmental scan report and interactive map are now available online.

These tools align with initiatives and legislation that call for Indigenous Data Sovereignty, including Action Plan Item #30 of the Government of Canada’s United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Action Plan, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and the 2023–2026 Data Strategy for the Federal Public Service. The Government of Canada, in collaboration with Indigenous partners, is committed to an open approach to the management and sharing of data to support self-determination and Indigenous Data Sovereignty.

Quotes

“The foundation of reconciliation is truth. People in Canada for too long have had the truth of colonialism hidden from them, harming us all, and delaying the healing that is essential to our country’s health and prosperity. This new tool will empower Survivors and communities in their journey toward healing from the pain and trauma caused by residential schools. It will also advance Indigenous Data Sovereignty and provide another tool of self-determination. Facing the past is painful but essential in the healing we must all do together.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services

Quick facts

  • The report provides an overview of the current condition, jurisdictional ownership and complexities related to sites and buildings of the 140 former residential schools recognized in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
  • The mapping tool integrates the data held by various publicly available datasets and offers users the ability to visualize residential school sites, access historical contexts, and use advanced analytical features, such as search, filters and measurement tools.
  • Approximately 150,000 Indigenous children were removed and separated from their families and communities and forced to attend residential schools.
  • A National Residential School Crisis Line is available to access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line at 1-866-925-4419.
  • The Hope for Wellness Help Line is also available at 1-855-242-3310 or via the online chat function through their website.

Associated links

For more information, media may contact:

Jennifer Kozelj
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for FedNor
jennifer.kozelj@sac-isc.gc.ca

Media Relations
Indigenous Services Canada
819-953-1160
media@sac-isc.gc.ca

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