February 18 was an emotional day for the survivors of St. Michael’s Indian Residential School in Alert Bay as a special ceremony was held to mark the beginning of the demolition of the building. National First Nations leaders and Anglican Church representatives joined the former students and community members at the demolition site.
St. Michael’s Indian Residential School was closed in 1974, but its place in history should never be forgotten,” said B.C.’s Minister of Aboriginal Relations John Rustad. St. Michael’s is a symbol and stark reminder of a dark chapter in our history. From the 1870s to 1996, more than 150,000 Aboriginal children in Canada were removed from their homes and placed in government-funded, church-run schools like St. Michael’s.
“We recognize the deep scars inflicted on children who attended these schools. And we acknowledge and honour the courage of survivors, their families and all those who suffered. As we look to the future, we share a great hope and optimism for healing and reconciliation.”