Indian Residential Schools and the RCMP

For more than a century, the Canadian government removed 150,000 Indigenous children from their families and communities to attend government-funded Residential Schools.

In 2011, the RCMP released a report titled "The Role of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police during the Indian Residential School system".

The report's findings

There was a lack of trust between Indigenous Peoples and the RCMP.

Many former students claimed they learned to fear the RCMP over the years. As a result, many didn't try to contact police.

The RCMP were mostly present at Indian Residential Schools as "truant officers".

When requested, the RCMP:

  • searched for and returned truants
  • fined parents whose children did not go to school
The RCMP assisted Indian Agents with the removal of children from their homes.

The police helped Indian Agents bring children to schools, sometimes forcibly.

RCMP members developed positive relationships with Indigenous youth.

RCMP officers got involved in activities beyond their traditional role, such as music and sports.

The RCMP did not know of the majority of abuse happening within the schools.

During the interview process, many former students confirmed that the RCMP could not know about the abuse. Neither the students nor the school would have told them of these occurrences.

Apologies issued by the RCMP

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report on Residential Schools in 2015. It included 94 Calls to Action.

The RCMP is fully committed to supporting Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and the rest of government in the implementation of these recommendations, and to reconciliation with Indigenous communities.

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