Top 20 Residential School Survivors In Canada

Residential School Survivors In Canada

Top 20 Residential School Survivors in Canada – Residential schools are plenty in Canada. Oh yes! They are mostly maintained by the Canadian government for Native Canadians. In this article, you will be opportune to see the top 20 best residential school survivors in Canada.


Before listing the top 20 residential school survivors in Canada, it is pertinent to discuss a few things about residential schools in Canada. Do you know why? The reason is to let you know some background knowledge about residential schools in Canada.

What is a Residential School?

A residential school in Canada is a boarding school maintained by the Canadian government for Native Canadians. Residential schools were founded to deliberately separate children from the educational, cultural, and spiritual influence of their families and communities.

 Residential schools are an extensive school system founded by the Canadian government and controlled by Churches that had the nominal objective of educating indigenous children but also the more damaging and equally explicit goals of indoctrination them into Euros Canadian and Christian ways of living and imitating them into mainstream white Canadian society. The schools deliberately separated children from their families for an extended period and prevent them to acknowledge their indigenous heritage and culture and speaking their language.


History Of Residential School In Canada

The first church Indian residential school was opened in 1831. By 1880, the federal government has released an official policy of funding residential schools across Canada. The objective was to separate these children from their families and culture.

The schools were often overcrowded and underfunded. The quality of education was substandard. Children are punished many times for speaking their language. Staff was not held accountable for the way they treated children. The schools inflict suffering on children. The schools hurt their families and communities. Children were prevented from true love and respect. The damages inflicted on children by residential schools continue to this day.

For a great many survivors, talking about their experiences in residential schools means relieving the trauma they experienced for many years from the residential schools.


 During the 19th and 20th centuries, a formal system for the residential school of indigenous children was founded and spread throughout Canada.

The schools were massively operated by certain Churches and religious organizations, administered, controlled, and funded by the federal government as a key aspect of colonialism. Throughout this period, indigenous people fought the system in many ways. The efforts of the residential school survivors to tell their stories and to seek justice have been crucial justice in the growing public recognition of the ham and effects of residential schools

The Canadian government announced the designation of the Residential school system as a national historic event under the National Program of Historical Commemoration on September 1, 2020.

The Canadian government sees it as a sad event indigenous people and communities, who are ready to do so, are imitated to raise awareness of the experience of the children who attend these schools to ensure that this history is known and understood better by Canadians.

For more than 150 years, Inuit and Metis Nation children were taken from their families and communities to attend schools that are often located very far from their homes. More than 150 children attend Indian residential schools.

Residential schools are known by many Canadians, and through the work of many initiatives and especially the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), the reality of those sad events is coming more and more into focus.  Now is the time to move from this darkness into light, where all Canadian people find a way to leave the past behind, and create forgiveness, and cultural respect for our future.

Canadian people can create a new legacy for children of all nations and cultures by joining hands together in an open process of dialogue and truth-telling, of reconciliation. The TRC estimates that 80,000 residential school survivors live in all regions of Canada today, and many other faiths and cultures have suffered within our borders, too. Canadian people need to hear their stories and find ways to ensure their collective future rests on a solid foundation of respect, openness, and trust. For the sake of Canadian children and future generations, they can build a stronger Canada.

Some Facts About Residential Schools

  • Indigenous children were deprived their rights and forcibly taken from their homes.
  • Over 150,000 Indigenous children were taken from their families and communities.
  • 90 to 100% of residential school victims suffered severe physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.
  • There was a 40 – 60% death rate in Indian residential schools.
  • Residential schools still exist in the 1870s.
  • Over 130 residential schools were located around Canada, and the last residential school closed as recently as 1996.
  • Two-thirds of Canadians believe that Canadian people with no experience in Indian residential schools have a role to play in the reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.

Residential Schools Activities And The Outcomes On Indigenous Health And Well-Being In Canada

The effects of residential school activities are apparent in all aspects of Indigenous people’s’ health and well-being, affecting not only their physical health, but also their mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. It is well founded that Indigenous peoples in Canada experience a disproportionate burden of ill health compared to the non-Indigenous population.


These health discomforts have been a result of government policies to imitate Indigenous peoples into the Euro-Canadian ways of life, leading to physical and emotional damage to children, lower educational achievement, separation of family structures, loss of language and culture. Many of the illnesses and conditions that are massively experienced by these Indigenous peoples, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, have therefore been attributed to the lasting effects of residential school activities. Including the residential schooling activities, the Indian Act, and the reserve system.

Loopie Reading and Wien note that residential activities, a distal determinant of health, are the basis on which all other determinants (i.e. intermediate and proximal) are constructed.

Among colonial policies, residential schooling activities have stood out as especially damaging to Indigenous peoples. The residential school system was deliberately done to eradicate the language, cultural traditions, and spiritual beliefs of Indigenous children to imitate them in Canadian society.  More than over 150,000 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children attended the church-run schools between their establishment in the 1870s and the last residential school in the mid-1990s.

As admitted and controlled by government and church officials, the real purpose of the residential school system was “to civilize and Christianize Aboriginal children”.  In addition to the cultural and social effects of being massively displaced, many children suffered physical, sexual, psychological, and spiritual abuse while attending the residential schools, which has had bad effects on their health problems, substance abuse, mortality/suicide rates, criminal activity, and disintegration of families and communities.

 Moreover, many of these schools were massively underfunded, providing poor nutrition and living conditions for children in their care, leading to illness and death.

Health Outcomes of Residential School Survivors

After the residential school victims were released, they go through some health challenges. Some of the health challenges are:

Physical health

The physical health issues include arthritis, chronic back pain, rheumatism, osteoporosis, asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, allergies, cataracts, glaucoma, blindness or serious vision problems that could not be corrected with glasses, epilepsy, cognitive or mental disability, heart disease, high blood pressure, effects of stroke (brain hemorrhage), thyroid problems, cancer, liver disease (excluding hepatitis), stomach or intestinal problems, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis, or diabetes.

Mental health

Health issues suffered by the survivors may include depression, anxiety, substance abuse (e.g. drugs or alcohol), paranoia, disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sexual dysfunction, personality disorders, stress, effects on interpersonal relationships, psychological or nervous disorders, and attention deficit disorder/attention disability. In addition, for this review, suicide and suicide attempts or thoughts were also classified as mental health.

General health

Some health categories related to general overall health were also added for papers that did not make references to a specific health outcome.

Top 20 Residential School Survivors In Canada

  • Clara Moore
  • George Martin
  • Janet Moose
  • Joseph Star 
  • Nora Jane
  • Sinclair Anderson
  • Stella Constant 
  • Wilfred Stewart
  • Absolam Monias
  • Bella Maminawatum
  • Caroline Simpson
  • Eliza Keno
  • Elizabeth Sinclair
  • Harriet Munro
  • Isla Little
  • James Muswaggan
  • John Keeper
  • Levi Harper
  • Madaline Monday
  • Madeleine Monias


After doing our research on the Top 20 Residential School Survivors in Canada, these are the ones we can gather so far. Thank you for reading.


Frequently Asked Questions

The TRC estimates that 80,000 survivors of residential schools live in all regions of Canada today, 

Estimate ranges from 3200 to 6000

Canada made a three-year investment through Budget 2021 to renew essential mental health, culture and emotional supports for residential school Survivors and their families as well as those impacted by Federal Day Schools.


  • The Residential school system
  • canada parks Canada: History and culture of Residential schools in Canada
  • History of Residential Schools
  • studentshealthreview: Health outcome of residential school survivors


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