Friday, February 24, 2012

They Came for the Children

Report on native Canadian abuse

A commission examining Canada's policy to separate indigenous children from their families says the abuse created a legacy of turmoil. From the country's formation in the 19th Century until the 1970s, the children had to attend schools where they were stripped of their identity. Many of the 150,000 children also suffered physical abuse from the staff at the church-run boarding schools.

An interim report says children left the schools "as lost souls".

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada report, They Came for the Children, says their lives were "soon to be cut short by drugs, alcohol and violence". It concludes that the schools were an assault on indigenous children, their families, culture and their nations.

Native Canadians remain among the poorest members of society, with many still living on reserves. The commission was formed as part of a landmark settlement in 2006 that included more than C$2bn (£1.3bn) compensation for surviving former children and their families. It has already taken 25,000 statements from survivors, visited about 500 communities and has heard from about 100 former school employees. The schools were set up to assimilate native children into Canadian society. More