The following are answers to some of the questions people are asking about the unmarked graves found at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Church staff are also available to answer any further questions. For more information, please contact Allyson Carr in Justice Ministries.
Read the PCC’s initial statement and prayer upon learning of the 215 unmarked graves found by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.
The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available for any former residential school students and others needing support. That help can be accessed at 1-866-925-4419.
Did The Presbyterian Church in Canada operate residential schools?
The Presbyterian Church in Canada ran a number of residential schools for Indigenous children beginning in the mid 1880s through to 1969. The names of those schools are: Ahousaht Residential School in British Columbia, Alberni Residential School in British Columbia, Birtle Residential School in Manitoba, Cecilia Jeffrey Residential School in Kenora, Ontario, Crowstand Residential School in Saskatchewan, File Hills Residential School in Saskatchewan, Muscowpetung (later known as “Lakesend”) Residential School in Saskatchewan, Portage la Prairie Residential School in Manitoba, Regina Residential School in Saskatchewan, Round Lake Residential School in Saskatchewan, and Stoney Plain Residential School in Alberta.
In 1925 all but two of the schools that were still open were transferred to the United Church of Canada which was established as a result of the Church Union Movement. The two schools the PCC continued to operate after 1925 were Birtle Residential School and Cecilia Jeffrey Residential School. A narrative history of the PCC’s role in operating Birtle and Cecilia Jeffrey can be found in the Archives.
Has The Presbyterian Church in Canada apologized for running the schools?
Yes. The PCC first formally apologized for its role in running residential schools in 1994. That apology, called our Confession, can be downloaded here. A study guide to work through the Confession is also available. The church renewed its commitment to living out that Confession in 2019, when it also formally repudiated the Doctrine of Discovery and the concept of terra nullius in response to TRC Call to Action number 49. Click here for information on the Doctrine of Discovery and its intense harm, in addition to how it shaped PCC policy and why we repudiated it.
We continue to live out our apology through lament, repentance and action for reconciliation. Click here to learn more about how we are living out our Confession for reconciliation.
Has the PCC turned over all its records?
The PCC turned over all documents regarding residential schools in our possession to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and through them to the NCTR (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation). We also hired a student who worked for two summers to read all documents and capture every name of every student mentioned, with any related information. That was also turned over.