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National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

In the spirit of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we invite you to learn about the History of Regina Indian Industrial School. We have included a 360 video of the current site and some written resources and links below. We also encourage you to visit the site in person when you are able to do so safely. 

The Presbyterian Church of Canada, operating through the Foreign Mission Committee, opened the Regina Indian Industrial School (RIIS) in 1891.  The RIIS occupied ~129 hectares of land northwest of the city, and housed children from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.  The children were expected to farm the land and do other work such as carpentry.  Early reports painted an idyllic picture, but reality questions that; a number of children ran away in 1891.  All were captured and returned to the RIIS.  After the first principal died in 1900, conditions deteriorated.  Reports came in of children looking lean, and of the site being unkept, in shambles, and dirty.  In 1904, a student was reported as having small pox, a child died of tuberculosis, and yet another died after surgery for a tumor.  After the RIIS closed in 1910, the building was used as a jail and then a home for delinquent boys.  In 1948, a fire destroyed the building, leaving the site occupied only by the remains of those who had been buried on the grounds.  The number of remains is unknown.  There is a headstone for one of the principals of the school, and two of his children are buried at the site; the other burials are not clearly marked or documented.  A search revealed 35 burials; however, given that at least 48 students died at the school between the years of 1891 and 1897, and two deaths were noted in the early 1900s, more remains are likely on the grounds.  The land where the gravesites are located was privatized in 1980 and purchased by a private developer, before changing hands a number of times.  In 2012, a group of concerned Indigenous peoples came together to prevent the site being developed into condominiums. 

For more details on the school and site’s history, please visit “Shattering the Silence” Regina Indian Industrial School

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