About the Partners and Funders

Aboriginal Healing Foundation (AHF)
An Aboriginal-managed, national, Ottawa-based, not-for-profit private corporation established in 1998 and provided with funding by the federal government of Canada as part of Gathering Strength — Canada’s Aboriginal Action Plan. The Aboriginal Healing Foundation was given a mandate to encourage and support, through research and funding contributions, community-based Aboriginal directed healing initiatives which address the legacy of physical and sexual abuse suffered in Canada’s Indian Residential School System, including inter-generational impacts. The AHF will cease operations in September 2014.

A Message from Georges Erasmus, Chairman
Having been asked to provide some introductory words for Where are the Children? – Healing the Legacy of the Residential Schools, I reflected upon the meaning of such an undertaking. What did an exhibition of this type represent?

The project was launched at the National Archives of Canada. Dedicated to the service of the nation’s identity, the Archives gathers what has been as an endowment to what will be. Because no legacy is enriched by counterfeit, this project represented an attempt to tell the true
and painful story of a national institution committed, not to the preservation of a people, but to their forced assimilation.

Where are the Children? acknowledges that the era of silence is over. The resilience of Aboriginal people is evident in efforts to address the effects of unresolved trauma, thereby conferring upon future generations a renewed legacy of peace, strength, and well-being.

The exhibition has meant, and will mean, many things to many people.

Those who are Survivors of Indian residential school trauma will have painful recollections. Some have begun their healing, others are yet to begin. I acknowledge their strength – their determination to face the truth and to end the cycle of abuse. People of courage are the wealth of our nations. May this exhibit contribute to their healing.

Some will for the first time see what Survivors of residential school abuse have never forgotten: the face of a child whose identity is a number, whose culture is forbidden, and whose future is an institutional experiment. May this exhibit provision a greater understanding.

Meanwhile, the healing will continue. We will look beyond mere survival, toward the renewal of nations and the reconciliation of peoples.

I thank the Survivors of residential school abuse who today are enriching both the present and future state of Aboriginal communities.

For their support, I thank also the National Archives, the National Library of Canada, Health Canada, and the Office of Indian Residential Schools Resolution of Canada.

Georges Erasmus

Library and Archives Canada
Library and Archives Canada preserves and makes accessible the documentary heritage of Canada. It also serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions. This heritage includes publications, archival records, sound and audio-visual materials, photographs, artworks, and electronic documents.

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) combines the holdings, services and staff of both the former National Library of Canada and the National Archives of Canada. As outlined in the Preamble to the Library and Archives of Canada Act, LAC’s mandate is as follows:
• to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations;
• to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada as a free and democratic society;
• to facilitate in Canada co-operation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge;
• to serve as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC)
AANDC supports Aboriginal people (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) and Northerners in their efforts to:
• improve social well-being and economic prosperity;
• develop healthier, more sustainable communities; and
• participate more fully in Canada’s political, social and economic development – to the benefit of all Canadians.

AANDC is one of the federal government departments responsible for meeting the Government of Canada’s obligations and commitments to First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and for fulfilling the federal government’s constitutional responsibilities in the North. AANDC’s responsibilities are largely determined by numerous statutes, negotiated agreements and relevant legal decisions. Most of the Department’s programs, representing a majority of its spending – are delivered through partnerships with Aboriginal communities and federal-provincial or federal-territorial agreements. AANDC also works with urban Aboriginal people, Métis and Non-Status Indians (many of whom live in rural areas).

Canadian Heritage
The Department of Canadian Heritage delivers policies and programs related to broadcasting and interactive media, arts and cultural industries, heritage objects and spaces, official languages, citizenship participation and identity, human rights, Aboriginal Peoples, youth and sport initiatives, as well as national ceremonies and symbols.

The Canadian Heritage Portfolio includes the Department and major national cultural institutions. Together, they promote culture, the arts, heritage, official languages, citizenship and participation as well as Aboriginal, youth and sport initiatives.

Nation Media
As a leading edge graphic design and communications firm, NATION merges traditional Aboriginal ways and beliefs with new media solutions. This in turn allows a powerful synthesis of creative design and invaluable customer service. Through its First Peoples Group, NATION also provides community based Aboriginal knowledge and outstanding management consulting through a strong team from each community.

Donna Cona
Established in 1996, Donna Cona has emerged as Canada’s leading Aboriginal Business and Technology Solutions company. As a full service firm, it provides its clients with sound business and technology advice, as well as comprehensive solutions tailored to their specific needs. They serve clients with business planning; IT strategic planning; historical research services; telehealth; program evaluation; custom application system development; technology architecture planning and implementation; computer operations and help desk support.

Isite Technologies Corporation creates 3D websites. This world leader in Internet software development enables real-time, interactive 3D web navigation and visualization of real-world environments. Just as important as 3D visualization, isite software allows for information and content to be plugged in for a greater, richer web experience. Isite’s software works seamlessly with all forms of multimedia and becomes the attractive hook to encourage visitors to learn and have fun.

About the LHF

Our Mandate
The Legacy of Hope Foundation (LHF) is a national Aboriginal charitable organization whose purposes are to educate, raise awareness and understanding of the legacy of residential schools, including the effects and intergenerational impacts on First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, and to support the ongoing healing process of Residential School Survivors. Fulfilling this mandate contributes towards reconciliation among generations of Aboriginal peoples, and between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada.

The LHF fulfills this mandate by: working in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, communities and organizations across Canada; and undertaking communications, research and policy activities that support the development and implementation of our educational programming. All of these activities are informed by the experiences and stories of Residential Schools Survivors, their families and communities.

Our work is guided by ethical guidelines and principles for working with Survivors and Aboriginal communities. These ethical guidelines are based on:
1) a deep concern and compassion for, and honouring of, Survivors, their families and communities; and
2) a clear understanding of the need for and importance of the oral tradition of Aboriginal peoples. We take as our fundamental guiding principle that the work of the LHF must contribute to the health, safety, well-being and healing Survivors, their families and communities, and towards promoting reconciliation in Canada.

A Message from Richard Kistabish, President
The Legacy of Hope Foundation was established to address the long-term implications of the damage done to Aboriginal children and their families by many of the residential schools. The psychological wounds run deep and have infected new generations. Healing is a gradual process that will demand time and patience.

A primary objective of our work is to promote awareness among the Canadian public about residential schools and try to help them to understand the ripple effect those schools have had on Aboriginal life. But equally important, we want to bring about reconciliation between generations of Aboriginal people, and between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

Everyone who belongs to the First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities has been affected by the residential school experience. Only through understanding the issues can we undertake this healing journey together.

I would like to thank everyone who helped to make the virtual exhibition a reality – Heritage Canada, Library and Archives Canada, Donna Cona, the Aboriginal Healing Foundation and Jeff Thomas, the curator, for his vision and sensitivity in creating this project.

Richard Kistabish


About the Curator

Jeff Thomas

Jeff Thomas is a member of the Six Nations Reserve and currently resides in Ottawa, where he works as a photo-based artist and independent curator. Thomas explores relationships between the Aboriginal past and present through historical photographs and paintings depicting Aboriginal people. His curatorial projects have taken place at the National Archives of Canada, The Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Archives of Ontario and George Eastman House in Rochester, New York.

You won’t find a definition for ‘urban Iroquois’ in any dictionary or anthropological publication–it is this absence that informs my work as a photo-based artist, researcher, independent curator, cultural analyst and public speaker. My study of Indian-ness seeks to create an image bank of my urban-Iroquois experience, as well as re-contextualize historical images of First Nations people for a contemporary audience. Ultimately, I want to dismantle long entrenched stereotypes and inappropriate caricatures of First Nations people

About the exhibition

Developed in 2001, the goals of Where are the Children? Healing the Legacy of the Residential Schools are to: acknowledge the experiences of, and the impacts and consequences of Canada’s Residential School System on Aboriginal peoples; to create a public and historical record of this period in Canadian history that could be easily accessed by Canadians; and to promote public awareness, understanding and education of the history and legacy of residential schools. Through documentation, acknowledgment and education, the goal of the exhibition is also to assist in promoting understanding and reconciliation in Canada about residential schools.

The exhibition consists of 118 framed archival photographs, text panels, maps, original classroom textbooks and historical government papers selected from nine public and church archives, and depicts the history and legacy of Canada’s Residential School System. Where are the Children? spans over 130 years and contains photographs and documents from the 1880s to present day.

Visitors come to understand the history of residential schools and the lasting impact that residential schools have had on generations of Aboriginal peoples, and on First Nations, Inuit and Métis cultures, languages and communities. The exhibition also helps to inform visitors of the impact that residential schools have had on shaping relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians, and on shaping the history of this country. Where are the Children? allows Canadians to come to grips with this part of their history and to challenge their assumptions and understandings about residential schools.

The Where Are the Children? exhibition does not attempt to tell the whole story about residential schools; rather, it introduces people to a part of Canadian history by encouraging children to ask, and parents to answer, important questions about their family histories which will contribute to healing for Aboriginal communities.

Financial support for Where are the Children? has been provided by the Government of Canada (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and Canadian Heritage).


Current venue:
The Where are the Children? exhibition is currently not on display.

Previous venues:
• Red Deer College – Red Deer, AB (June 2013)
• First Nations University of Canada – Regina, SK (January – February 2013)
• Algoma University – Sault Ste Marie, ON (August 2012)
• University of Manitoba – Winnipeg, MB (February – March 2012)
• Dalhousie University Law School – Halifax, NS (October – November 2011)
• Cape Breton University Art Gallery – Sydney, NS (May – September 2011)
• Glooscap Heritage Centre – Millbrook, NS (March 2011)
• The Forks – Winnipeg, MB (June 2010)
• Tom Thomson Gallery – Owen Sound, ON (March 2009)
• Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – Toronto, ON (June 2008)
• Parliament Hill – Ottawa, ON (June 2008)
• The Exploration Place Science Centre and Museum – Prince George, BC (September – December 2007)
• Danaoja Zho Cultural Centre – Dawson City, YT (May – August 2007)
• Southern Alberta Art Gallery – Lethbridge, AB (March – April 2007)
• Campbell River Museum – Campbell River, BC (September – December 2006)
• Algoma University College – Sault Ste. Marie, ON (May – August 2006)
• Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre – Red Lake, ON (January – April 2006)
• Woodlands Cultural Centre – Brantford, ON (September 2005 – January 2006)
• Multicultural Association of Northwestern Ontario – Thunder Bay, ON (March – August 2005)
• The Manitoba Museum – Winnipeg, MB (January – March 2005)
• Museum of New Brunswick – Saint John, NB (October – December 2004)
• Alberta Provincial Museum – Edmonton, AB (May – September 2004)
• Yellowknife Legislative Building and Sir Franklin High School – Yellowknife, NT (September 2003 – January 2004)
• Wanuskewin Heritage Park – Saskatoon, SK (February – August 2003)
• University of British Columbia – Vancouver, BC (July – December 2002)