New in the St. Albert History Gallery – An introduction to residential schools

After the completion of the work by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, there are still many questions about the residential school period in our history. In St. Albert we had two residential schools and we’ve taken some of the things that our visitors have asked us, some information that we’ve found in our research, and some suggestions from our Aboriginal staff to put together a list of questions and answers.

Youville convent (St. Albert Residential School) and farm in St. Albert, ca. 1912.

  1. WHAT IS A RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL?
  2. HOW DID THEY START?
  3. WHO RAN THEM?
  4. WHEN DID THE GOVERNMENT GET INVOLVED?
  5. DID EVERYONE SUPPORT THE IDEA?
  6. WERE THERE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS IN ST. ALBERT?
  7. HOW LONG DID THEY OPERATE?
  8. WHO WENT TO THE SCHOOLS?
  9. HOW FAR AWAY WERE THE CHILDREN’S HOMES?
  10. WHAT WAS THE SIXTIES SCOOP?
  11. WHY ARE WE STILL TALKING ABOUT RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS?
  12. WHAT WAS THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION(TRC)?
  13. WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?

For over 150 years, there was an organized effort by Canada’s Churches and Government to forcibly assimilate First Nations, Inuit and Métis children. We cannot judge the intent of all those involved as they lived within their own times and personal contexts. We can however acknowledge that the results of their actions have done immeasurable harm to countless families and communities.


Edmonton Industrial School (Poundmaker) in St. Albert, ca. 1984 – 1990s.

We hope the exhibit will help people to better understand some of the circumstances that led to the creation and perpetuation of the residential school system. Putting things in context has certainly helped us to see a bigger picture, one that led to the personal traumas of the survivors and their families.

Links to more information:

National Centre for Truthand Reconciliation – http://www.trc.ca

This site also hosts the archived site of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, including all of their findings and reports.

Legacy of Hope Foundation – http://legacyofhope.ca

Where Are The Children? Healing the Legacy of Residential Schools – http://wherearethechildren.ca/en/

The Children Remembered – http://thechildrenremembered.ca

A project of the United Church of Canada Archives

The Canadian Encyclopedia – http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca