NCTR: There are records and truths that remain to be released
June 10 2021
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) confirms it holds a number of records from the Sisters of St. Ann (SSA) produced to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
These records are part of the five million records that the TRC, and subsequently the NCTR, received. The archives at the NCTR are the heartbeat of the Centre and are intended to be a powerful agent of change — a mirror that allows all Canadians to understand the history of Canada and the treatment of Indigenous peoples.
While the NCTR archives house millions of records, including statements from former students and families, school admissions records, policy documents, cemetery records and religious records from church entities — there are records and truths that remain to be released to the NCTR.
Specifically, the NCTR continues to await the production of a number of school narratives which are foundational documents that establish the administrative history of a school and key events that took place within those institutions.
These school narrative documents are important to further additional research. Ongoing barriers in obtaining these squanders the knowledge hard fought for and gained over the long course of the settlement agreement, and only serves to slow down the important work of finding the missing children. We also understand that the SSA remain unwilling to authorize disclosure of SSA records currently in possession of the Government of Canada. This is a concern and remains inconsistent with the actions of the vast majority of other signatories to the Settlement Agreement.
It’s important to recognize that this is not only a Catholic church issue. The federal government and provincial governments also have not shared all the records they agreed to provide to the NCTR. We continue to negotiate acquisition of further records from many settler organizations – both religious and governmental. We are assigned to document the complex history of residential schools, recognizing there is no equation for social memory. The Centre wishes to collect as complete and thorough a recorded memory of what happened in residential schools as possible. There is no final record total to what the Centre should have.
The NCTR continues to undertake a full and comprehensive review of all documentation in our archival collection. This will undoubtedly reveal the truth of even more missing children and an understanding on how they passed away.
We honour the lives of the children who never returned home.
NCTR will now be doing the work to find the children and will not be doing interviews at this time.