Residential school records still missing, says truth and reconciliation center

The National Center for Truth and Reconciliation says it is still awaiting federal government records related to residential schools, despite a comment from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that all federal records have been provided.

Trudeau told a meeting of Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc leaders, residential school survivors and their families in Kamloops, BC, earlier this week that “all records in the possession of the federal government have already been turned over” to the center in Winnipeg. .

He said Ottawa would seek more records, such as those held by the Catholic Church, which operated most of the 140 institutions between 1831 and 1996.

In a written statement, the national center says it is still waiting for the federal government to provide the final versions of the school narratives and supporting documents used in the process of evaluating claims for compensation stemming from abuse in institutions, including the Kamloops Indigenous Residential School.

The Prime Minister’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Monday’s visit to Kamloops was Trudeau’s first since the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc nation announced last spring that more than 200 unidentified graves had been located at the site of the former residential institution there.

The national center says it is also missing records from the Library and Archives of Canada and provincial governments, “most of which have not yet produced vital statistics, including death certificates for children lost to schools or reports of forensic doctors “.

The center says it has been negotiating with the government over access to records since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was created in 2015, including the records that will be generated from the database used in the resolution process. of claims.

Since the announcement of the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Nation in May, numerous indigenous nations have reported the location of unmarked graves in former residential schools with the same ground-penetrating radar technology used in Kamloops.

Records that have not yet been provided by the federal government are crucial for the investigation of missing children, the national center says, adding that they are also needed to fully document the residential school system and its ongoing effects.

“If the prime minister is telling all Canadians and indigenous peoples that the (National Center for Truth and Reconciliation) has all the records, it is time for that to be true,” his statement reads.

The Truth and Reconciliation Center says it is still waiting for the #ResidentialSchool records. #CDNPoli # Indigenous #TRC

This Canadian Press report was first published on October 20, 2021.

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