Truth & Reconciliation set draws mixed reviews

One of the four residential schools Canada Post featured on this year’s Truth and Reconciliation stamps caused some confusion among Indigenous people.

The stamp featuring Île-à-la-Crosse Residential School in northern Saskatchewan served as its first national recognition, leading to “some misgivings because the school hasn’t formally been recognized, acknowledged, the survivors have not been compensated,” according to Métis Nation-Saskatchewan Vice-President Michelle LeClair.

“So it’s sort of mixed feelings around that,” LeClair told Global News on Sept. 28, the day the stamps were issued.

One of Canada’s oldest residential schools, Île-à-la-Crosse opened in 1821. It was designated for Métis students, although many other First Nations children forcibly taken from their homes on the order of Canada’s federal government also attended the school. Hundreds of students attended the school before it closed in 1976.

In 2008, then-prime minister Stephen Harper formally apologized for the government’s part in the residential school system; however, while many schools received formal recognition during this reconciliation era, Île-à-la-Crosse was not one of them.

“The irony of all this is that … we’re glad that we’re getting a national awareness,” said Île-à-la-Crosse Mayor Duane Favel. “However, the Île-à-la-Crosse Residential School is still not recognized.”

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