Kathryn Blaze Carlson reports:
Testimony from Indian Residential School victims should be destroyed after 15 years unless individuals permit their accounts to be archived, an Ontario court has ruled, raising questions about the extent to which detailed records of one of Canada’s darkest chapters will be preserved for generations to come.
The future of the hundreds of thousands of documents has been the subject of legal debate ever since the head of the compensation assessment process, Dan Shapiro, asked the Ontario court to order the materials destroyed in the interest of confidentiality – a move opposed by the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was established to tell the full story of what went on behind residential school walls.
Some 150,000 aboriginal children were forced to attend residential schools from 1857 to 1996 as part of the government’s efforts to assimilate them into the dominant culture. Of the 80,000 or so living former students, roughly 20,000 have already submitted testimony and another 20,000 are expected to do so soon, Mr. Moran said.
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