Catholic Diocese of Calgary promises compensation to survivors of Canada’s residential schools

By | July 20, 2021

The residential school system was established by the federal government beginning in the 1870s, as a means to assimilate Indigenous children. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, established by a settlement between the government and First Nations leaders, investigated the history of the residential schools and released its report in 2015; the commission detailed abuses that occurred at the schools, and called the schools part of a policy of “cultural genocide.” 
Four of Alberta’s 25 residential schools were located in the territory of the Diocese of Calgary; however, they were operated by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and not the diocese itself. The Oblates say they operated a “majority” of the 70 Catholic-run residential schools in Canada.
The four Catholic-run schools were St. Joseph’s Residential School in Cluny, which operated from 1900-1968; St. Mary’s Residential School in Cardston, which operated from 1898-1988; Sacred Heart Residential School in Brocket, which operated from 1887-1961; and St. Joseph’s Industrial School, East of Okotoks, which operated from 1884-1922.
Of the 25 schools in Alberta, 16 were operated by either a Catholic diocese or Catholic religious order. 
Marilyn North Peigan, who works with the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program, a government program to support survivors of the schools, told Canada’s Global News that monetary compensation was long overdue. 
“The survivors have been asking for this kind of compensation since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report came out,” said North Peigan.