Catholic Oblates, NCTR, working together to collect and archive residential school records

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A ministry that managed the three residential schools that made the news across the country for its hundreds of anonymous graves will work with the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR).

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate OMI Lacombe Canada and Notre-Dame-du-Cap operated residential schools across Canada, including the Kamloops Indian Residential School, the Marieval Indian Residential School in the First Nation of Cowessess and St. Eugene Mission School. It was announced last month that all three schools had graves on their properties, with more than a thousand estimated graves, most of them children. Now they say they will work with the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) to make sure they have all Oblate records.

“In accordance with the spirit and intention of the Settlement Agreement, we are relieved by the efforts made by the Oblates to make their files available so that the indigenous communities can take a step closer to healing,” he said. NCTR Executive Director Stephanie Scott said in a joint statement. “There is a steep road ahead as communities search for ancient sites and strive to identify loved ones who have been found in these anonymous graves. Access to all relevant residential school records is an essential part of this process. “

The Oblates have previously cited confidentiality concerns as an explanation for not providing NCTR residential school records. The Oblates have already submitted more than 40,000 files to the CNTR within the framework of the mandates of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in their calls to action.

“Although confidentiality concerns have been raised regarding the transfer of these documents, the Manitoba National Truth and Reconciliation Research Center Act facilitates the collection of information and documents to fulfill the mandate of the CNTR and ensures appropriate protection of privacy. Provincial and federal privacy laws are not a barrier to transferring documents to NCTR, ”said Scott.

Bro. Ken Thorson of the Oblates says they are browsing their archives to see what is and is not yet digitized personnel files, photographs and other documents. he says they will hire staff as needed, saying it is their responsibility to turn the files over to the NCTR.

“The deaths of these children were never meant to remain hidden, and the onus should not be on Indigenous communities to piece together this part of our collective history. All Canadians, governments and institutions have a role to play in the dignity and memory of these children. who perished and never returned home, ”says Thorson.

The NCTR contains more than five million records, including nearly seven thousand statements from survivors. It is one of the only archives in the world with a spirit guide, due to the agonizing contents of the archives.

For residential school survivors who need support, the residential school crisis line is 1-866-925-4419.


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