Residential Schools: National Center for Truth and Reconciliation to Receive Manitoba Records


A new agreement to turn over Manitoba records to the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) will help the organization continue its investigation into Canada’s residential school system and the deaths of indigenous children.

The center signed a memorandum of agreement with Vital Statistics to receive copies of their records, including birth and death certificates.

“This information will help families and NCTR fill some of the gaps that are currently preventing us from uncovering more truth about residential school children who did not return home and are in unmarked burials,” said the NCTR executive director. , Stephanie Scott, at a press conference. conference on Monday.

The NCTR was created nearly eight years ago by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to be the stewards of its collected statements, documents, and sacred items, and to continue research, education, and community participation.

Scott said the new collaboration also responds to one of the TRC’s calls for action that asked government agencies to provide key records on the deaths of indigenous children in residential school care.

One of the ways this information will be used is to establish a missing children registry, which specifically addresses call to action #72.

“It is intended to identify every child who died in a residential school or within a short period of time thereafter,” said Raymond Frogner, NCTR’s chief archivist.

Putting all the different sources of information together can be like a puzzle, he said.

“Records were undervalued to begin with. Record-keeping was inconsistent,” he said, adding that the center has visited more than 150 different sites, including federal and provincial sites, along with Christian church entities.

“There is no single source of educational records; it is scattered among religious entities, government offices, and private records of teachers and administrators.”

He said the center is currently working to obtain forensic reports, which directly relate to the lives of the children who died.

Government Services Minister James Teitsma said the agreement also represents a determined step by the Manitoba government towards reconciliation.

“It is our hope that the sharing of this information will bring closure to families and help heal the families and communities of the children who died as a result of the residential school system.”

Teitsma said that while this information has always been available to families through Vital Statistics in Manitoba, there was a $30 administrative fee.

Frogner said gathering all the information is also important.

“This is part of NCTR’s effort to … create as complete a history as possible of the residential school system,” he said. “We’re putting together different sets of records to try to understand the residential school experience.”

He said that in the future, families will be able to visit the NCTR and not only gain access to a child’s death certificate, but also gain full context about the history of the school and the child’s life and experience there. He added that the registry is restricted to families only as the information is considered private.

Frogner said provinces like BC, Ontario and Alberta have already provided similar information. The center is still in talks with Saskatchewan, Quebec and the Northwest Territories for the same vital statistics.


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