Indian Day Schools

Cote Day School,” [191-?] from the United Church of Canada Archives (93.049P/1690)

In addition to Residential Schools, the Canadian government and Christian churches enforced Indian day schools. The federal government used Day Schools as tools of assimilation against Indigenous children until the late 1870s, when Residential Schools were fully mobilized. Unlike Residential Schools, Day School students remained in their communities and went home to their families in the evenings.

Day schools were not included in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, nor were they included in the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement of 2006. However day schools, like Residential Schools, were places where students experienced physical, verbal, and sexual abuse.

In 2009, Garry McLean, Indigenous leader and mentor, started legal action seeking justice for day school Survivors. In August 2019, the Federal Court approved a nation-wide class settlement to compensate Survivors of day schools.

detailed timeline

Find Day School Settlement and Claims information

There is new information for Survivors on the Day School Settlement Agreement, including claims forms and updated deadlines.

Further resources

  • Luby, B., & Labelle, K. (2015). “The New Generation” Cooperative Education at the Day School on Dalles 38C Indian Reserve, 1890-1910. Ontario History, 107(1), 88-110.
  • Norman, A. (2015). “True to my own noble race” Six Nations Women Teachers at Grand River in the early Twentieth Century. Ontario History, 107(1), 5-34.
  • Osoyoos Museum Society, edited by Andrea N. Walsh (2005). Nk’Mip Chronicles: Art from the Inkameep Day School. Osoyoos, Canada: Osoyoos Museum Society.
  • Raptis, H., and members of the Tsimshian Nation (2016). What We Learned: Two Generations Reflect on Tsimshian Education and the Day Schools. Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press.
  • Walls, M. E. (2011). [T]he teacher that cannot understand their language should not be allowed”: Colonialism, Resistance, and Female Mi’kmaw Teachers in New Brunswick Day Schools, 1900–1923. Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, 22(1), 35-67.
  • W.D., H. (1986). The Federal Indian Day Schools of the Maritimes. Fredericton, Canada: Micmac-Maliseet Institute.