Métis people’s lived residential school experiences had, and continue to have, deep intergenerational impacts on individuals, families, friends, and communities. Our Citizens feel this dark chapter needs to be recognized, talked about, and shared. Not only for survivors but for our youth and communities, to help our people heal.
For more than 150 years, Métis, First Nation, and Inuit children were forcibly taken from their families, communities, and culture in an attempt to assimilate them with . The schools were often located far from their homes and many children never returned.
The trauma of residential schools on Indigenous peoples has greatly impacted the direct survivors, their families, and descendants. Overwhelmingly, Métis survivors denied themselves, their language, culture, and true identities to protect their own children from the same fate.
Now, Survivors are starting to use their voice, a voice that has been silenced for too long.
Through documentation, acknowledgment, support, and education, our goal is to promote reconciliation and truth about residential schools in Alberta.
The Métis Experience
As the minority of residential school attendees, the Métis are considered the forgotten people, and their voices often fell on deaf ears. As a result, much of Métis attendance at residential schools went unrecorded because students were identified as First Nation and moved around to government funded First Nations and some Inuit schools to fill quotas. After all, the schools would obtain more funding based on how many children were in the school. As a result, it is incredibly difficult to identify how many Metis children were impacted.
Any Métis-specific schools that did exist were inconsistently funded as the government wasn’t always willing to fund them. Métis families were sometimes forced to pay for their children to attend, or the children had to earn their keep by doing farm work.
What the MNA is Doing
Truth & Reconciliation Coordinator
The MNA Provincial Office has appointed a Truth and Reconciliation Coordinator to:
- Create a point of contact for Citizens wanting to talk and for those who require more information regarding Residential and Day schools
- Document the stories of Métis survivors
- Create a needs assessment and apply attainable short and long term goals for healing
- Foster and maintain critical and collaborative partnerships with other organizations
- Research historical data, records, and documents to preserve materials for future access and learning
Connect with the Truth & Reconciliation Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to inaccurate records, we are still learning about the extent of trauma experienced by the Métis community. This is why Métis people are often referred to as the “forgotten people.” Until now, their stories fell on deaf ears. We are dedicated to creating a safe space for Survivors and their families to share their stories.
Current & Upcoming Initiatives
Residential Schools in Alberta Map
Learn more about Alberta’s Residential Schools by clicking on the images in the map.
To ensure Métis survivors lead us down the road of truth and reconciliation, we will appoint a Truth and Reconciliation Advisory Board consisting of residential/day school and intergenerational trauma Survivors.
More information coming soon.
Healing & Learning Circles
To improve and increase access to community support, we aim to establish a Healing Circle where Métis survivors can safely share their experiences.
As part of the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We are also developing a Learning Circle. Here all are welcome to learn more about the history of residential schools and establish a trusting and respectful relationship with Survivors.
More information coming soon.
Our Métis orange sashes were created to show our love and support for our Survivors and the children who never made it home. We acknowledge their experience and honour them through our commitment to listening to their truth, striving for justice, and walking towards reconciliation on their behalf.
Truth and Reconciliation is not just one day. It is every day. Every Child Matters.
Proceeds from the sales of the Métis orange sash will go towards our Survivor’s healing fund. To find out how to purchase your sash, please go to our online store Cree Productions.
Survivor Recognition List
We’re still working to identify many Métis residential school Survivors to ensure our peoples’ experiences aren’t lost to history. If you attended a residential school or are an intergenerational survivor, you can securely share your information with our Truth & Reconciliation Coordinator to ensure your story is recognized. Email email@example.com
Letters to His Holiness Pope Francis
The Catholic Church was responsible for most residential schools in Alberta. Generations later, the His Holiness Pope Francis is listening to our stories. Gary Gagnon Vice President of MNA Region 4, hand-delivered your letters to the Pope when he travelled to the Vatican with the Métis delegation on March 28, 2022.
If you would like to write a letter, either as a direct Survivor or a family member of one, you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org