A National Crime, Canada’s Residential School System – Dr. John Milloy – September 27, 2021


Virtual talk on Truth and Reconciliation

Fleming College respectfully acknowledges that we are situated on Michi Saagiig Anishinaabeg lands and territory. We offer our gratitude to the Michi Saagiig Anishnaabeg for their care of the territory on which Fleming College is located.  We are thankful to work, live and gather here, Miigwetch.

A National Crime, Canada’s residential School System – Dr. John Milloy

Dr. John Milloy, Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1991-1996), The Truth & Reconciliation Commission (2008-2015)

An acknowledged expert on Canada’s residential school system and as a member of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1991 – 1996) Dr. Milloy researched and produced a detailed report which provided a complete history of the residential school system. In 1999 it was published as a book, A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System 1879 -1986.

During his tenure on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Prof. Milloy was responsible for all research, but became most associated with a project to document dead and missing children. “Although not part of the original mandate, I was asked to find the names and circumstances for every child who died or went missing in residential schools going back to 1879,” Prof. Milloy says. “That proved to be a great challenge, particularly determining where children were buried and marking their graveyards.”

Acclaimed Auther, Dr. Milloy’s A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879 to 1986, examines the boarding schools where Indigenous children were sent beginning in the late nineteenth century. These schools were designed to separate Indigenous children from their own culture, teach them white ways, and ultimately assimilate them so that their own cultures would disappear. Conditions in the schools were often brutal: The teaching was poor, the buildings were declared unfit for human occupancy, disease was rampant, and thousands of these children died. Milloy describes the social, political, religious, and ideological factors that led to the institution of the schools and continued to allow them to exist.

The Plains Cree: Trade, Diplomacy and War, 1790 to 1870, Dr. Milloy provides a detailed account of the military and trade history of the Cree people during the era of North American expansionism. Dr. Milloy draws his account from the journals and memoirs of fur traders, missionaries, and Cree writers.

· Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching (1985-86)

Students, faculty and staff were persuasive in their numerous Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching nomination letters for Prof. Milloy. He received the award, Trent’s most prestigious teaching honour, in 1986.

Dr. Milloy was educated at St. Patrick’s College in Ottawa and received an M.A. in history from Carleton University and a Ph.D. in Imperial Commonwealth History from Oxford University. In 1981 John S. Milloy was appointed as a professor in the Native Studies department of Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. He taught courses in the history, politics, and culture of the native people of Canada.

Currently, John Milloy is a professor emeritus in the departments of Indigenous Studies and History of Trent University.

Prof. Milloy sees the work of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission as an important Canadian story.

“It’s the first stop sign that tells us the relationship between Aboriginals and Canada has not been good. It is our responsibility as Canadians to recognize that and to start on some process of reconciliation.”