Canadian Residential Schools & Colonial Institutions Database
Image credit: Northern Ontario Business Staff
This is a comprehensive database of Residential Schools, Indian Hospitals, and Indian Day Schools in Canada
If you notice a school or institution is missing please email the information to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add it to the database
"The numbers of missing and deceased children who were forced to attend residential schools in Canada may never be known, we must work to find the ones we can, to locate the hundreds of unmarked burials at residential schools, Indian day schools, and Indian hospitals, and to acknowledge the children, and honor their memories"
Paulette Steeves, 2021
"Too many Canadians know little or nothing about the deep historical roots of these conflicts. This lack of knowledge has serious consequences for First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples and for Canada."
TRC Final Report, 2015
What is residential schools?
Residential schools were created and run by the federal government, and religious institutions. Children were forceable removed from their families and communities and sent to residential schools, they were often given numbers to identify them and were forbidden to speak their native languages. The goal of residential schools was to strip Indian children of their culture, language, and lifeways. In 1920, amendments to the Indian Act make it mandatory for every Indian child between the ages of seven and sixteen years, to attend Indian residential school. The goals of the Canadian government were to assimilate Indians into the body politic until not a single Indian remained. Indian children suffered horrific abuse at residential schools, many died and were buried in unmarked and unrecorded graves. The aftermath continues today as intergenerational trauma resulting from an attempted cultural genocide.
How many residential schools were there in Canada?
Minimally there were 161 residential schools, 636 Indian day schools, and 31 Indian hospitals in Canada. Totaling minimally; 829 colonial institutions in Canada that communities need to search for unmarked burials.
Dr. Bryce wrote a report in the 1920s about the high mortality rates of students at residential schools he visited, between 24 % to over 60 %.
Considering that minimally 150,000 children were forced to attend residential schools. The mortality rate was not the same at each school. However, even at the lowest mortality rate, Dr. Bryce reported, there may be over 24,000 unknown and unmarked burials at former residential schools and colonial institution sites. Survivors of residential schools have reported cremations and open water burials, so we know not all children who died at residential schools will be found, but we must work to acknowledge and honor all the children
Shingwauk Indian Residential School operated between 1873 to 1970 in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. The former residential school is now the site of Algoma University. This database and website were created by Dr. Paulette Steevs and her research assistants. Dr. Steeves is a Canada Research Chair in Healing and Reconciliation and an associate faculty in Sociology-Anthropology at Algoma University, her research lab is located in Shinwaulk Hall.