More deaths at Quebec residential schools than previously reported, investigation reveals

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WARNING: This story accommodates distressing particulars and pictures.

New data uncovered by Radio-Canada’s investigative program, Enquête, suggests there have been maybe dozens extra deaths in Quebec residential schools than the 38 formally reported by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Combining newly uncovered images, previously unpublished reviews and interviews with survivors, Enquête discovered a number of situations of deaths of Indigenous kids in Quebec that are not mirrored within the official numbers.

Some of the youngsters died from sickness. Some have been victims of abuse who later died underneath nebulous circumstances.

Janie Pachano remembers one such case.

Pachano is a survivor of St. Philip’s Indian Residential School on Fort George Island. She advised Radio-Canada that the invention of unmarked graves at the location of a former residential college in Kamloops, B.C., in June 2021 woke up a 70-year-old recollection in her.

“I began crying,” Pachano stated. “I could not cease.”

When Pachano was 10, on a chilly day in February 1951, she says she noticed a younger lady named Ellen Bobbish sitting on the ground along with her head resting on her knees.

Pachano stated a supervisor ordered Bobbish to decorate to go exterior, however Bobbish replied that she was too ailing.

“The supervisor kicked her within the ribs and again, and she or he slid to the door. The supervisor finally kicked her exterior,” Pachano stated.

Janie Pachano, a survivor of St. Philip’s Indian residential college, advised Radio-Canada about witnessing the abuse of Ellen Bobbish and later studying Bobbish had died. (Radio-Canada)

“A number of days later, they introduced to us as we have been lining up for supper, they introduced that she had died,” Pachano stated.

“And they stated do not you discuss this. She’s gone. Don’t discuss this anymore,” Pachano stated.

Bobbish’s title does not seem on the official checklist of those that died, however Pachano believes her stays are in all probability on the location of the previous college.

Radio-Canada found traces of 12 different kids who could have died at one of many two residential schools on Fort George Island.

Last June, Cree officers introduced they might use floor penetrating radar (GPR) to go looking the websites for unmarked graves. The search will start subsequent summer time.

Disturbing {photograph}

One of the extra disturbing items of proof of extra deaths of kids uncovered by Radio-Canada is {a photograph} just lately added to the archives of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

The picture exhibits Father Maurice Grenon, who was director of the Saint-Marc-de-Figuery residential college in Amos from 1955-1868.

Officially, no kids died at that faculty.

But within the {photograph}, Father Grenon is wanting down at the open casket of an Indigenous lady, as a handful of kids look on. There are not any different adults within the {photograph}.

WARNING: The textual content under accommodates a distressing picture.

Marie-Pier Bosquet, director of Indigenous research at Université de Montreal, was stunned when Radio-Canada confirmed her the image.

She too had believed there had been no deaths at the Saint-Marc-de-Figuery college.

“This picture has come to alter my thoughts,” Bosquet advised Radio-Canada.

Photo shows priest and several children surrounding casket of deceased child.
This undated picture exhibits Father Maurice Grenon and youngsters encompass a younger youngster who died at the Saint-Marc-de-Figuery residential college in Amos, Que. The pictures is used with the permission of a committee of the survivors of the varsity. (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation / Deschâtelets-NDC Archives)

Richard Kistabish, a survivor who was at the varsity within the Nineteen Sixties, advised Radio-Canada he’d heard tales of at least three kids who by no means turned up once more.

“Some bear in mind having attended plenty celebrated at the varsity for useless kids,”  Kitsabish stated.

The Survivors Circle of National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation allowed Radio-Canada to publish the picture, in hopes it’d assist to establish the lady who died.

Others died from meningitis, tuberculosis

Enquête additionally uncovered proof of at least one youngster who died throughout a meningitis outbreak at a residential college in La Tuque, Que., and two others who died of sickness at residential schools in Mashteuiatsh and Sept-Îles.

Raymond Frogner, director of archives for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, stated there’s additionally proof of probably dozens of Inuit kids who died of tuberculosis after being despatched to sanatoriums in southern Quebec.

Frogner stated there’s extra work to be executed to investigate paperwork and eyewitness accounts from Quebec. He stated an absence of bilingual researchers meant the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s portrait of the state of affairs in Quebec was incomplete when the fee resulted in 2015.

Quebec’s Indigenous Affairs Minister Ian Lafreniere advised reporters Thursday at the National Assembly that the seek for Indigenous kids who died at residential schools within the province is just not over. (CBC News)

Quebec’s Indigenous affairs minister, Ian Lafrenière, advised reporters at the National Assembly Thursday he anticipated this.

“There can be surprises. To be sincere, there’s rather a lot to find. This is just not over,” Lafrenière stated.

“This is the explanation why, proper after the invention in Kamloops, I introduced the naming a facilitator whose solely job is to do the hyperlink between the feds, the province and all of the communities,” he stated.

Frogner stated the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation hopes to publish an up to date complete of the variety of deaths at Quebec residential schools quickly.


A nationwide Indian Residential School Crisis Line is on the market to supply help for survivors and people affected. People can entry emotional and disaster referral providers by calling the 24-hour service at 1-866-925-4419.

Mental well being counselling and disaster help can be accessible 24 hours a day, seven days per week by way of the Hope for Wellness hotline at 1-855-242-3310 or by on-line chat.

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