In 2008 the Indigenous Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established with Indigenous lawyer and Senator Murray Sinclair as chair. The Commission had been budgeted at $60 million, but ended up costing $70.6 million.
The purpose of this Commission was to reveal to Canadians the truth about the history and the ongoing legacy of the church-run residential schools by way of documents and the individual and collective accounts of harms perpetrated against Aboriginal peoples. It was a broad mandate that at the outset, assumed that the residential schools had harmed the students.
Unfortunately, the TRC chose to interpret its mandate to be merely collecting the anecdotal stories of the students (whom it refers to always as “victims of the residential schools”) and it did not provide any hard, verifiable data as to what had actually occurred.
The TCR’s report was released in 2015 (six years later). Its report did not provide updated and comprehensive figures on the total number of students attending residential schools, beyond its rough estimate of 150,000.
The report stated, according to the anecdotal stories collected, that the students had experienced racism, sexual and physical abuse, and neglect which led to the deaths of some children who were buried in unmarked graves. The TRC claimed there were many “missing children” who could not be accounted for and summed it all up as genocide against Aboriginal peoples. This unverified information led to Indigenous families of students receiving millions of dollars in compensation from the federal government.
Unmarked Graves at Former Kamloops School
On May 29, 2021, it was announced that 215 students at the Kamloops residential school were buried in the school grounds. Similar claims also arose immediately in other provinces by Indigenous advocates. The Trudeau government poured millions of dollars into Indigenous hands in an unstoppable flow to uncover these supposed graves.
It has now come to light that the Commission’s claims, that the Indigenous students were victims of comprehensive racism and genocide while attending residential schools, were based on misleading information. There has been no factual evidence provided to support this TRC claim.
The Frontier Centre for Public Policy in Winnipeg as well as a number of widely respected university professors from across Canada have investigated the Commission’s findings. There were no “missing children” who attended residential schools and had died because of abuse and neglect.
Death certificates provided by the BC government for six residential schools in that province, including the notorious residential school in Kamloops, indicated that the deaths in residential schools occurred in the hospital or at the children’s own home reserves.
The death records used in this research are available on the BC archives website where they can be examined without cost. The deaths can also be verified at the Library and Archives Canada website, which indicates that there were in fact, protocols in place for an inquiry relating to the death of all children in the residential schools at which the parents were asked to participate.
Doubts About TCR Report
More and more people are having doubts about the Kamloops as well as the other residential school grounds where Aboriginal children were supposed to be buried. After two full years, no bodies have been recovered anywhere, despite Assembly of First Nations Grand Chief RoseAnne Archibald’s 2021 assertion that 1,600 children’s bodies have been “recovered” across Canada, “so far” and “we’re going to be into the thousands upon ten thousands of children found.” Yet two years later, not one body has been recovered.
In addition, chairman of the TCR, Murray Sinclair made a false statement in 2010 at the United Nations – when he claimed that “nearly every Indigenous child in Canada” was forced to attend an Indian Residential School. This was absolutely inaccurate.
Research has disclosed that only one third of school-aged Indigenous children attended residential schools, one third attended Indian day schools on the reserves, and one third attended no school at all (see census records, school quarterly reports, Indian agent reports, Indian Affairs records, Library and Archives Canada documents).
Dr. Peter Bryce’s Report, 1906
In 1906, a revealing report about residential schools was released by Dr. Peter Bryce, Medical Inspector for the Department of the Interior and the Department of Indian Affairs (DIA). In his report Dr. Bryce explained that the Indigenous population of Canada was declining, despite a high birth rate. He ascribed the decline to disease, estimating that “the Indian population of Canada has a mortality rate of more than double that of the whole population, and in some provinces more than three times”, and that “the one dominating cause of the excessive mortality everywhere is this lack of sanitary knowledge or of how to live in houses, and that the death-rate is due to the same cause, tuberculosis.”
In 1922, Dr. Bryce published a book entitled “The Story of a National Crime” in which he related that in a study of eight residential schools in Alberta “tuberculosis was present equally in children at every age” and that “In no instance was a child awaiting admission to school found free from tuberculosis.”
An Objective Investigation Required
What is needed is an objective investigation of the situation. It should be undertaken by an independent body and not an agenda driven multimillion dollar inquiry conducted by ideologues who have a conflict of interest in this matter.