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Quebec: victims discuss abuse at Indian residential schools

February 08, 2013

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is holding hearings in Quebec on the abuse that took place in the Indian residential school system.

From 1884 to 1948, Canadian law compelled Native Americans to send their children away from home to residential schools, most of which were Catholic or Anglican institutions. The last residential school closed in 1996.

Catholic and Anglican bishops attended a recent hearing in Val d’Or, near the site of a residential school operated by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Attorneys allege that one priest abused up to 1,000 students there.

“It isn't just about survivors,” said one member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “It is about the children raised by survivors who had no parenting skills and who say over and over again, there was no love in that place. My number was 66. My number was 111. My number was 43. No names.”

“We, as Christians, recognize our duty to participate in this process toward healing and reconciliation,” said Brian McDonough, director of the Social Action Office of the Catholic Diocese of Montreal. “We have to go beyond apologies and requests for forgiveness. We cannot change the past, but we can and must work with native peoples to build a future founded on mutual respect.”


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