Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Residential Schools Archive Trying to Balance Survivor Privacy, Public Education

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Residential Schools Archive Trying to Balance Survivor Privacy, Public Education

Article excerpt

Residential schools archive set to open

--

WINNIPEG - An archive housing the national memory of residential schools is set to open its doors, but must balance concerns from survivors with educating the public about one of the darkest chapters in Canadian history.

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba will house millions of records collected by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The records -- some of which were sealed for decades -- include everything from school inspection reports to heartbreaking testimony from survivors who detailed graphic accounts of sexual and physical abuse.

For survivors from across the country who have met with centre director Ry Moran, the archive is deeply personal and threatens to revictimize them if it isn't handled carefully.

Survivors who testified before the commission were allowed to dictate what part of their stories they wanted to be part of the public record. But government and church records in the archive contain personal medical information, racist language, details about family relationships and the names of survivors and their family members.

"While we have a very pressing and very real mandate to make as much of the collection available as possible, we're also being told to do no harm in the release of the information and do things in as respectful a way as possible," Moran said in an interview.

"What we're hearing from survivors is, 'We want Canadians to know what it was like for us in those schools, but we don't necessarily want Canadians to have access to all of our personal, intimate details.'"

About 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Metis children were taken from their families and forced to attend the government schools over much of the last century in a bid to "take the Indian out of the child." The last school closed outside Regina in 1996. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.