Skip to main content
Sculpture of turtle


It is necessary for all of us to seek the full truth of what happened in these schools. The tragic discovery in Kamloops provides us with an opportunity to learn more about this dark chapter in our history and the pain experienced by so many Indigenous Peoples.

Publications, Interviews, Articles, FAQ

The Story of a National Crime

Written by Dr. P.H. Bryce, published in 1922

‘Neglected in Life, Dishonoured in Death’

Published by The Tyee on June 1, 2021

Background for Catholics: Residential Schools

By the Archdiocese of Toronto, July 2021

Interview with Dr Moira McQueen on the Church’s moral response to the finding of graves at former residential schools; obligation; delegation to the Vatican and reference to the Synod of the Amazon (Indigenous peoples); a renewed transparency.

From Context Beyond the Headlines, July 2021

Podcast: Residential Schools, Reconciliation, and Indigenous-Catholic Relations

From “Resuming Debate” Podcast featuring Graydon Nicholas, former Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick and the first Indigenous person to hold that role; June 22, 2021

Approximately 16 out of 70 Catholic dioceses in Canada were associated with the former Indian Residential Schools, in addition to about three dozen Catholic religious communities. Each diocese and religious community is corporately and legally responsible for its own actions. The Catholic Church as a whole in Canada was not associated with the Residential Schools, nor was the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Diocese of Hamilton did not operate residential schools, yet we share the collective grief and sorrow as the result of any representative of the Catholic Church inflicting pain or abuse on an individual, especially vulnerable children.

Residential Schools operated by the Catholic Church received children either directly from families or from government agencies enforcing the School Act, which required all children in Canada to receive education in registered schools. Indian Officers, as they were called at the time, and other law enforcement agencies handled all aspects related to any removal of children.

This does not minimize the role of the Catholic Church in the operation of these schools nor any atrocities that occurred in them.

In a brief submitted to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in November 1993, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said that “various types of abuse experienced at some residential schools have moved us to a profound examination of conscience as a Church.”

In 1991, Canadian Catholic Bishops and leaders of men and women religious communities had issued a statement that “We are sorry and deeply regret the pain, suffering and alienation that so many experienced” at the Residential Schools.