Last Monday, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and APTN held an emotional ceremony across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Que., inside the Grand Hall at the Canadian Museum of History to honour the thousands of Indigenous children who died while attending Indian Residential Schools over 120 years in Canada. This was an important ceremony. It was Sept. 30, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The beautiful and moving ceremony was a stark contrast to the tragic, ugly, and racist events it marked and which led to the deaths of thousands of Indigenous children over 120 years and in 80 schools across Canada. Some 4,037 Indigenous children are listed in the National Student Memorial Register, which is in response to a call to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, call 72, to develop and maintain a student death registry. Some 2,800 names of children who died in residential schools were listed on a red, 50-metre ceremonial cloth, which was unfurled by family members on Monday. It’s estimated 4,200 children died in the residential schools and that 150,000 Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their homes to attend residential schools, which first opened in the 1880s. The last residential school closed in 1996, in Canada.
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