Attending residential school was mandatory for all Aboriginal children 16 and under in Canada from 1876 to 1947. The schools were set up as a part of the Federal Government’s policy to remove the influence of Parents, Culture and to forcible enfranchise aboriginal children to a European way of life.
The exhibition introduces visitors to residential schools but it does not tell the whole story. It is a starting point for the students that attended the schools to tell their story. The exhibition promotes public awareness understanding and education of the history and legacy of residential schools. It encourages everybody to contribute to healing with Aboriginal, Inuit and Metis families. It consists of archival photographs, maps, text panels and official government documents of the time.
The Aboriginal Healing Foundation (now closed) approached Jeff Thomas to curate “Where are the Children?” He is of the 6 Nations Reserve, he lives in Ottawa. He considers himself an Urban-Iroquois who wants to dismantle long entrenched stereotypes and inappropriate caricatures of First Nations People.
An addition to the Where are the Children? Exhibition is found on the same level. This reflects the history of the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations members who were taken to residential schools. You can learn the impact residential school has on our lives but it focuses on how we are healing from this. Curated by Alison Pascal of the Lil’wat Nation this portion of the exhibition showcases items by or items made by residential school students.
We invite you to join us to learn about how residential school affects all Canadians and to join us in restoring balance and forging a new relationship between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal People.
Jeff Thomas & Mix̲alhítsa7-Alison Pascal
Legacy of Hope, Elders Groups from North Vancouver, Squamish Valley, Lil’wat Nation
Province of British Columbia
February 2016-October 2016