The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation will reveal the names of 2,800 children who died in residential schools at a ceremony in Ottawa on Monday. Visitors to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg can view a new exhibit called The Witness Blanket Monday, December 14, 2015. The 12-metre-long installation is made of more than 800 items collected from the sites and survivors of residential schools, in the style of a woven blanket. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

VIDEO: Names of children who died in residential schools released in sombre ceremony

A total of 150,000 Indigenous children are thought to have spent at least some time in a residential school

Their anonymous deaths have been honoured and their names — hundreds and hundreds of them — are finally known.

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation revealed on Monday the names of 2,800 children who died in residential schools during a sombre ceremony in Gatineau, Que.

A 50-metre long, blood-red cloth bearing the names of each child and the schools they attended was unfurled and carried through a gathered crowd of Indigenous elders and chiefs, residential-school survivors and others, many of whom openly wept.

The list and the ceremony are intended to break the silence over the fates of at least some of the thousands who disappeared during the decades the schools operated.

“Today is a special day not only for myself but for thousands of others, like me, across the country to finally bring recognition and honour to our school chums, to our cousins, our nephews to our nieces that were forgotten,” said elder Dr. Barney Williams, a residential-school survivor and member of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation survivors committee.

“It is essential these names be known,” said Ry Moran, director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, which compiled the list.

Years of research were conducted on what happened to the many children who were taken into residential schools and never came out. Archivists poured over records from governments and churches, which together operated as many as 80 schools across the country over 120 years. It’s the start of meeting one of the 94 calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report issued in 2015, which called for resources to develop and maintain a register of deaths in residential schools.

A total of 150,000 Indigenous children are thought to have spent at least some time in a residential school.

The 2,800 on the list are those whose deaths and names researchers have been able to confirm. Moran said there are another 1,600 who died, but remain unnamed.

There are also many hundreds who simply vanished, undocumented in any records so far uncovered.

A number of national Indigenous officials spoke at the ceremony Monday, which felt much like a funeral for the many young victims of abuse and neglect in residential schools.

READ MORE: Orange Shirt Day sheds light on dark history of Canada’s residential schools

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New development will pay homage to fallen World War One pilot

1015 Cook Street will become 28 market rental homes with mural

Fish habitat enhancement champions set to start next project in Saanich

The latest stage of restorations to Colquitz Creek runs Aug. 4 to 14

Saanich Peninsula business leader calls for education campaign on social distancing

Chamber boss Denny Warner says Sidney demographics make consistent safety protocols necessary

PHOTOS: Families, spectators wave goodbye to Navy Task Force from Victoria shorelines

HCMS Winnipeg and HCMS Regina sailing to Hawaiian training exercise, further deployments

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should it be mandatory to wear masks when out in public?

B.C. is witnessing an alarming rise in the number of cases of… Continue reading

Cowichan RCMP use spike belts to end car chase — man in custody

The driver was arrested at the scene a short distance from his vehicle

COVID-19 tests come back negative for remote First Nation

“There are no suspected cases in the community at this time.”

Answers to 5 common questions facing families for the COVID-19 school year

COVID-19 protocols are likely to vary even more at the school board level, and even and school-to-school.

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Most Read