The Quebec government, the Catholic Church has not yet delivered important boarding school records

Warning: This story contains some details that may be painful for readers.

As Quebec’s Indigenous Program may conduct searches of previous boarding schools, the Quebec government and the Immaculate Missionary Consecration (the religious group that operates four Catholic boarding schools in the province) have yet to surrender any help to this process. file.

Despite the requirements set out in the Indian Boarding School Settlement Agreement in 2007, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued a call to action in 2015.

Raymond Frogner, head of the archives of the National Truth and Reconciliation Center at the University of Manitoba, said: “Call to Action 71 actually states that the Provincial Coroner’s Office and important statistics should be handed over to record children in school. Missing record.” In Winnipeg.

“We have not received them from Quebec,” Frogner said. “We are resuming negotiations with them.”

The center was created in 2015 and is the main administrator of the country’s boarding school records, including records collected by TRC.

The National Truth and Reconciliation Center at the University of Winnipeg and Manitoba was created to protect the history and heritage of the Canadian boarding school system. (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

Frogner said that they are also trying to obtain more records from oblates in Quebec. They have provided some documents as part of the TRC process, but not all.

Specifically, the center wanted some Code historian, A log of missionary activities, as well as photos, human resource records, and teacher profiles.

Frogner says Last month’s news An unmarked cemetery believed to be the remains of children was discovered near a former boarding school in Kamloops, British Columbia, which led to a renewed dialogue with the French branch of Oblates, whose English-Canadian counterpart was in charge of Kamloops mechanism.

He said: “Recent incidents have undoubtedly made the situation somewhat urgent,” adding that these contributors seem willing to work hard to release more records and have already held a meeting. “I expect some progress soon.”

Aboriginal people again call for records

Thanks to Kamloops, the indigenous people of Quebec have former boarding schools on or near their territory Plan the next step, Including the use of ground penetrating radar for search.

But the leaders also once again called on the government and church groups to provide more documents to facilitate a search that may be very complicated.

At a press conference on June 14, the leaders of Cree, including Chief Daisy House, asked the government to cooperate fully with the churches that run boarding schools in the province, including two on Fort George Island near Chisasibi, where at least there are 16 students. Known to be dead.

Chisassibe Cree chief Daisy House In front of a photo of her great-grandfather Peter House, Peter House served as chief of Fort George from 1920 to 1930 a century ago. (Mary-Raul Joselin)

Chief Chief John Boudrias of Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation said that the government’s continued delay in recording boarding schools fits a familiar and frustrating pattern.

“We are tired of all these words and promises,” he said.

“Urgency is our responsibility to survivors,” Budrias said. “They will move on soon, and we have an obligation to tell them the truth before them.”

Boudrias said that so far, when it comes to church records, religious organizations such as Oblates have not extended communication channels to the Algonquin nation.

“This in itself is one of the biggest obstacles we have to overcome,” he said.

Blame it for lack of resources, hoping for clearer instructions

Oblates is a missionary group whose history in Canada can be traced back to 1841.

In 2006, its Canadian branch signed the “Indian Boarding School Settlement Agreement” with dozens of other religious entities and the Canadian government to resolve a class action lawsuit by boarding school survivors.

One of the conditions is to provide all relevant documents to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The central database of Quebec boarding schools is Archives Deschâtelets in Richelieu, about 35 kilometers east of Montreal.

Students and staff of Fort George Roman Catholic Indian Boarding School, Fort George, August 8, 1948. (National Truth and Reconciliation Center/Descatelets-NDC Archives)

Father Raymond Marquis, a dedicated priest who has volunteered to assist the archives in responding to NCTR requests since 2015, said that since 2011, they have provided data to the Winnipeg center. Thousands of documents about boarding schools.

“We are not trying to hide information from people, they have the right to know,” Marquis said. He attributed the slow progress to lack of personnel and large files.

But the Marquis also said that the center’s requirements need to be more “precise.”

He said: “I think the requirements for all relevant information are extensive and need to be tempered a little bit.”

Marquis said that in the past, a team from NCTR opened a store in the Deschâtelets Archive for several weeks, but in the end, when the project funds ran out and the work was completed, they left.

Although he did not understand why a similar arrangement could not be made again, the decision depends on the person in charge of the archives and the final decision on what to publish, especially the personnel files of the contributors working in the archives. boarding school.

“The archive must be the archive that evaluates the release of any information,” Marquis said. “If it involves other issues, privacy or other things.”

Diocese pledged to cooperate

There are also questions about what records may be held by specific Catholic diocese that have boarding schools in their territories, even if these diocese are managed by the diocese.

In an interview, the Catholic Bishop of Amos stated that a recent search of the archives of the Saint-Marc-de-Figuery boarding school in the parish archives revealed almost nothing about the operation of the institution.

Mr. Gilles Lemay said that indigenous leaders or people appointed by their communities are welcome to check any records in their parish archives on site.

“We have nothing to hide,” he said.

Children’s shoes and stuffed animal toys are placed at the foot of the monument and information panel at the site of the former Catholic boarding school in Saint-Marc-de-Figuery, near Amos, Quebec. (Martin Kington/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

As for the Anglican Church, which operates two boarding schools in the province, its bishops stated that they believe all relevant information has been handed over to TRC.

“Nevertheless, we are doing due diligence and re-reviewing many of our files to make sure nothing is missing,” said Bishop Bruce Myers, who is in charge of the Anglican diocese of Quebec, which includes Latour, one of the boarding schools from 1963. -Started operations in 1978.

Fred Hiltz, assistant bishop of Moosonee diocese and former head of the Anglican Church of Canada, expressed these views while studying St. Philip’s boarding school near Chisasibi.

“We will do our best,” Shields said, which means providing any records that the diocese can provide and addressing any requests made.

Quebec government records still not delivered

As for the provincial government’s records, Quebec’s Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Ian Lafrenière, rejected CBC’s request for an interview and directly referred the question to the Citizenship Director who manages the province’s vital statistics and the Quebec Coroner’s Office.

Quebec’s Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Ian Lafrenière, said that the province will cooperate with the federal government and consult with the province’s indigenous leaders to determine how to find the remains of boarding school victims. (Graham Hughes/Canada Press)

But records of deaths before 1986 are kept in the provincial archives, not the coroner.

In a statement, the spokesperson of the organization National Archives of Quebec The above-mentioned search must be carried out at a regional branch near the boarding school location. Since there is no digital copy, each record must be viewed on site.

They said that work was suspended for several months due to the pandemic, but they hope to send all records to the National Truth and Reconciliation Center by the fall.

Regarding vital statistics, the Secretary of Civil Affairs stated that it is “unable” to identify indigenous children or children who have been to boarding schools through their records, but if NCTR provides it, it can find more information about specific people with a list of names.

Anyone affected by boarding schools and those affected by the latest report can get support.

This Indian Boarding School Survivors Association (IRSSS) Call toll free 1-800-721-0066.

A nationwide Indian boarding school crisis hotline has been established to provide support to former students and those affected. People can call the 24-hour national crisis hotline: 1-866-925-4419 for emotional and crisis referral services.

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