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Tyee Poll: When did the last residential school in Canada shut down?

From 1861 until the year the last school closed, over 150,000 Aboriginal children were removed from their homes –- often forcibly by the RCMP -- and sent to residential schools, where they were prevented from speaking their own languages and practicing their cultures. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission estimates that 80,000 residential school survivors are living in Canada today. Around 90 per cent experienced severe emotional, physical, or sexual abuse while in these government-funded, church-run schools.

From Sept. 16 – 22, Vancouver hosts Reconciliation Week, a series of inclusive events that includes the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's BC National Event, and Reconciliation Canada events such as the Walk for Reconciliation.

Reconciliation Canada is a multi-faith, multi-cultural organization. Under the leadership of Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, Reconciliation Canada has united Canadians across First Nations, faiths, and cultures to promote reconciliation by engaging Canadians in dialogue that revitalizes the relationships between Aboriginal peoples and all Canadians in order to build a stronger future for our children.

Organizers are hoping to draw at least 50,000 people of all cultures, faiths, and ages to participate in the Walk for Reconciliation, which promises to be an historic moment signaling support for a shared path forward.

CORRECT ANSWER: The last residential school operated by the Canadian Government -- Gordon's Residential School in Punnichy, Saskatchewan -- closed down in 1996.

Pre-Confederation, most residential schools were run by religious orders. In the 1880s, the federal government fully embraced the model. The number of government-funded residential schools peaked in the 1930s. Many schools were shut down in the 1970s, but some kept going over the following decades.

139 residential schools are included in the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement (those that operated with federal government support.) Numerous other day schools and schools run by religious orders or provincial governments operated over the years.

See the Truth and Reconciliation website for more info.

To learn about Reconciliation Week events, including the Walk For Reconciliation on Sept. 22nd, visit Reconciliation Canada's site.