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1894 - Indian youth forced by law to attend school

 

In 1884, amendments to the Indian Act made school attendance compulsory for Indigenous children between 7 and 16 years of age.

The introduction of mandatory attendance was the result of pressure from missionary representatives. Reliant on student enrollment quotas to secure funding, they were struggling to attract new students due to increasingly poor school conditions.

Compulsory attendance ended in 1948, following the 1947 report of a Special Joint Committee and subsequent amendment of the Indian Act. - Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Digging Deeper

It was reported that, between 1894 and 1908, mortality rates at some residential schools in western Canada ranged from 30% to 60% over five years (that is, five years after entry, 30% to 60% of students had died, or 6–12% per year). These statistics did not become public until 1922, when former Chief Medical Officer Peter Bryce, who was no longer working for the government, published The Story of a National Crime: Being a Record of the Health Conditions of the Indians of Canada from 1904 to 1921. -CBC

 

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