Canada’s deadly residential school system


in Canada, History, Politics

The worst damage the residential schools inflicted directly on Aboriginal children resulted from the schools’ deplorable physical conditions and the cruelty of their custodians. Persistent underfunding produced terrible overcrowding, poor sanitation, and grossly inadequate diets. For many children, this meant death. In 1907 Dr. P.H. Bryce, the Indian Affairs Department’s medical inspector, reported that the death toll of children in the fifteen schools he surveyed was 24 per cent. That figure would have been considerably higher had children been tracked for a few years after returning home to their reserves. The magazine Saturday Night commented that, “even war seldom shows a percentage of fatalities as does the educational system we have imposed upon our Indians.”

Russell, Peter. Canada’s Odyssey: A Country Based on Incomplete Conquests. University of Toronto Press, 2017. p. 193

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