Page 1 of 7
In the late 19th century, the Canadian government undertook a formal partnership with the churches to run industrial, boarding, and residential schools for Aboriginal children.
The Indian residential school system was designed to teach Aboriginal children the English language, as well as the religion, values, and work skills of Canadian society at the time.
Between 1831 and 1998, 130 industrial, boarding, and residential schools operated. The earliest was the Mohawk Indian Residential School, opened in 1831 at Brantford, Ontario.
The schools existed in all territories and in all but three provinces — New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. In the North, the residential school system also took the form of hostels. Many Inuit children were billeted in southern cities for the purposes of education and training. Although not identified as Métis, many Métis children attended residential schools in the West, as well.
Eventually, the segregation-based residential school system was discarded in favour of a policy of integration. Aboriginal students began, in the 1940s, to attend regular public schools. The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development assumed full management of the residential school system on April 1, 1969. Beginning in the 1970s, at the request of the National Indian Brotherhood, the Government of Canada undertook a process that saw the eventual transfer of education management to Aboriginal people. In 1970, Blue Quills Residential School became the first residential school managed by Aboriginal people. Gordon Industrial Residential School in Saskatchewan was the last federally-run school to close in 1996.1 The last band-run residential school closed in 1998.