The following information is about Residential Schools and may cause distress. Please take care. Need support? The Indian Residential School Survivor Support Society has established a 24-hour Crisis Line.
Residential School records at the BC Archives
The BC Archives holds various records relating to Residential Schools.
Included in our holdings are the records of religious congregations that worked at the schools, photographs, newsletters, annuals, government records (including lands records, vital events records, coroner’s inquests and inquiries, and more), sound recordings of survivors, and publications.
Records of religious congregations
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate fonds (PR-2400)
The Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) are a Catholic missionary religious congregation that operated ten residential schools in BC. The BC Archives holds the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate fonds (PR-2400), which includes approximately 74 metres of records.
For more information on OMI records at the BC Archives:
To access records from the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate fonds, please contact email@example.com.
Sisters of St. Ann Archives collection (primarily PR-2415)
The Sisters of St. Ann (SSA) are a Catholic religious congregation that worked at four residential schools in BC. The Sisters of St. Ann have recently transferred their archival records to the BC Archives, and we are working to process the records and make them accessible. To read more about the transfer, see the news release.
The SSA records are being processed, with descriptions of records being entered into the BC Archives’ public database as they are completed. See the collection level database description here.
To access the Sisters of St. Ann archives, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For all other inquiries about the Sisters of St. Ann, please contact email@example.com.
Other records at the BC Archives
Our government records holdings cover a range of records connected to residential schools. We have guides arranged by subject to help with this research.
Sounds recordings and oral histories often contain accounts of people’s experiences in Residential School. To search descriptions of these records, go to the BC Archives Collection Search. Using the advanced search option, choose sound recording under the “general material designation” dropdown box.
The BC Archives library collection has publications on Residential Schools in BC. To search for publications, view our library catalogue.
Many Residential School records were the responsibility of the federal government, and would have been transferred to the national repository, Library and Archives Canada (LAC). You can read about Residential School records at LAC here. LAC and other records-holding institutions have shared Residential School records with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR): https://nctr.ca/.
In BC, the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC provides records, resources, and support: https://irshdc.ubc.ca/.
Children in British Columbia were at times sent to residential schools in other provinces. The most common province for children from BC to be sent was Alberta. The Provincial Archives of Alberta (PAA) has a lot of records that may be helpful in this research, in particular their collection of records (Fonds PR0003) created by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI). The OMI collection at the PAA covers a large geographic area, and is extensive in its scope. For more information on accessing OMI records at the PAA, see their access page. The PAA has also compiled a list of names of children found in OMI records.
The Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition is the primary organization compiling information about boarding schools in the US.