From the early 1830s to 1996, thousands of First Nation, Inuit and Métis children were forced to attend residential schools in an attempt to assimilate them into the dominant culture. Those children suffered abuses of the mind, body, emotions, and spirit that can be almost unimaginable.
Over 150,000 children, some as young as four years old, attended the government-funded and church-run residential schools. It is estimated that there are 80,000 residential school Survivors alive today.
Today, healing initiatives are taking place in every region of the country, in cities and small towns, on reserves and in rural, remote and isolated communities. Sharing circles, healing circles, smudging, Sundances, the Potlatch, Pow-wows, and many other ceremonies have been revived in the last few decades, providing a multiplicity of positive models not only for healing, but for people to reconnect with their cultural roots. Reconnecting with culture provides an empowering focus in life. People who have a strong sense of their culture have a strong sense of self.
Much of the text from this section of this website is taken from Hope and Healing (out of print). Visit our homepage to download this booklet.
In 2012, the LHF produced an information booklet about Residential Schools. Click here to go to our homepage to view the entire 100 Years of Loss booklet (contains background information and a timeline)