Métis History and Experience and Residential Schools in Canada


Executive Summary, Page 9-10:

"This report provides an overview of Métis participation in residential schools based on published and unpublished archival materials. The synthesis begins with a historical overview of the people of the Métis Nation of the Canadian prairies, focusing primarily on the Manitoba experience. What follows is an examination of the social and policy rationales behind Métis participation in residential schools and, to some degree, the impact of residential schools on the Métis. The report concludes by offering some suggestions for future research, followed by an annotated bibliography...

There is considerable evidence that Métis attended residential schools in considerable numbers. Available statistics indicate at least nine per cent of those who attended residential schools identified as Métis. In the early period, Métis were often accepted by church authorities into residential schools for various reasons and with little resistance from government authorities. As long as they were seen as culturally Indian, it made sense that they should attend residential schools to assimilate them into mainstream society. However, as the federal government began to develop its official policy vis-à-vis the rights of the Métis, official tolerance of Métis attendance at residential schools dissolved. Since Métis rights were extinguished and Métis were not legally considered Indians, they were therefore not the responsibility of the federal government that funded residential schools and were not allowed to attend. There were, of course, exceptions even after the government’s policy of not accepting Métis that became clear. Some churches, without federal funding, set up schools for the Métis, such as St. Paul’s in Saskatchewan. Still, other churches included Métis in existing Indian residential schools where room permitted or by ignoring official policy altogether. Nonetheless, by the 1930s, most Métis were excluded from formal education because of federal government policy. They were also often not included in provincial-operated schools due to social, racist and economic reasons until well after formal education in provinces became entrenched and freely available to all residents without cost or discrimination.

The impact of residential schools on Métis children who did attend was similar to the experiences of Indians who attended such schools. In some cases, those Métis who did attend residential schools would sometimes be treated as “second class” since the church did not receive any sponsorships for Métis students.

It is reasonable to conclude after reviewing the literature on Métis and residential schools that it is completely unacceptable to hold the view that Métis were not part of the residential school legacy and that they were not affected in any significant way. Such views simply are not true. However, Métis attendance at residential schools and their impact on this Aboriginal community remains largely unexplored in the research. More Métis-specific research attention is needed in this area." (9-10).

Publication Information

Chartrand, N. Larry., Logan, E. Tricia and Daniels, D. Judy. Métis History and Experience and Residential Schools in Canada. Ottawa: The Aboriginal Healing Foundation, 2006.

Aboriginal Healing Foundation
Publication Date
Primary Resource
File Description
Aboriginal Healing Foundation-Metis Residential School