SAWCC Resolution on Residential Schools

Whereas the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation recently found the unmarked graves of 215 children buried at the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Whereas the system of over 100 residential schools was established and funded by the federal government of Canada and administered largely by Christian organizations, notably the Catholic Church, from 1883 to 1996 and both the government and the churches are responsible for enforced disappearance, physical and sexual abuse, starvation and neglect, medical experimentation, torture and death, and the negation of language and identity, as  described at the hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). 

Whereas an estimated 150,000 Indigenous children were  kidnapped and forcibly taken away from their loved ones and communities and sent to residential schools with the intent of complete assimilation in order to “get rid of the Indian problem”,  described by the TRC as  cultural genocide.

Whereas the survivors of residential schools suffered deeply distressing experiences, both physical and psychological, and family and friends of the children forcibly removed experienced tremendous mental anguish, not knowing if their children would ever return and not informed when children died; and this trauma continues through generations.  

Whereas the federal government has accepted all 94 Calls to Action of the TRC but has failed to act on many of them, and the federal government is still litigating against residential day school survivors, while both the federal government and the Catholic Church are withholding records and documents about residential schools and the deaths of children.

Whereas the federal government continues to underfund Indigenous children’s public resources while there are three times as many Indigenous children in foster care today than at the peak of residential schools, with foster care being an extension of the system of the residential schools.

Whereas residential schools were present in Quebec and the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government continues to deny the existence of systemic racism, even as the recent death of Joyce Echaquan, as she faced racist and inhumane treatment in a Quebec hospital, once again exposed deep systemic racism in Quebec.

Be it resolved that:

The members of the South Asian Women’s Community Centre, gathered today,  June 19th, 2021, in Montreal (unceded Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) territory), in our Annual General meeting, express our solidarity with the families and communities of Indigenous peoples in British Columbia, in Quebec and across Canada, northern Turtle Island.

SAWCC calls upon the federal government of Canada to stop litigating against residential school survivors, and to act on the TRC recommendation to release documents and make funds available to uncover the truth about deaths in residential schools, so that the survivors and the families of the victims know about what happened to their children and receive justice.

SAWCC calls upon the federal government of Canada to stop the practice of removing Indigenous children from their family homes to place them in foster care as a routine practice and to this end, the federal government must stop denying Indigenous children on reserve the same levels of basic services as other children in Canada, as ordered by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in 2016.

SAWCC calls upon the Quebec Government to acknowledge systemic racism in Quebec society and to cooperate with the Indigenous peoples of Quebec in uncovering the truth about the deaths of children in Quebec residential schools.

SAWCC calls upon both the federal and provincial governments to demand that the Catholic Church release documents related to the residential school system that are being withheld.


SAWCC calls upon both the federal and provincial governments to act in the best interests of Indigenous peoples so that the current and future generations never again are the victims of systems that forget their humanity.