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LETTER: The Canadian experience

Harvey Andrew offers additional insight into residential school history

Editor’s note: This letter has been edited for length.

Dear Editor:

There are many factors involved in the residential schools here in Canada. There are those who are saying that the Catholic church was behind it. That is not so. There have been other churches of other denominations across Canada that also took part in the residential schools.

The residential schools had a lot of players. You have to consider that in the 1860s, things were entirely different. The federal government, the B.C. government and the general population had their own issues on the Indigenous people. There were those who wanted access to the timber rights, mineral rights and oil rights.

The Coqualeetza residential School in Sardis was one of the first residential school in Canada, and it was run by the Methodist church. The Indigenous children came from northern B.C., Queen Charlotte and Vancouver islands. Per government policy, the local Sto:lo First Nations children were not allowed to attend the Coqualeetza residential school, even though it was in their own backyard. Instead, they were sent to other residential schools as far away as possible from their families.

The residential schools have left a scar on the Canadian people. They will also need healing and to be told the real truth of what has happened to the Indigenous children in the residential schools.

I am Indigenous and the pain and sorrow that I live with is too much to bear.

Harvey Andrew


Agassiz-Harrison Observer