The Frontier Centre for Public Policy appears to have scrubbed from its website a two-minute radio advertisement questioning the effects of Canada’s Indian residential school system.
Posted last week, the Winnipeg-based think tank’s spot opens with former Saskatchewan broadcaster Roger Currie asking the question: “Are Canadians being told the whole truth about residential schools?
“For many years now we’ve been told that the residential school system deserves the blame for many of the dysfunctions in Indigenous society,” including “abuse of alcohol and drugs, domestic violence and educational failures,” Currie states.
The ad goes on to claim that it is a “myth” that Indian residential schools robbed Indigenous children of their childhoods, their language and culture, and intergenerational trauma — harm passed from parents to children to grandchildren.
The Frontier Centre declined an interview request. In an instant message, the organization said the advertisement was for its radio commentary program which is “designed to reach a wider non-traditional audience for our think tank across the prairies.”
“Roger Currie, a main target of this social media attack, is simply a paid professional voice and has no editorial control,” the message stated, noting that the advertisement was for a paper it published in August titled “Myth versus Evidence: Your Choice.”
Reached by email, Currie did not immediately provide comment.
The ad being broadcast over radio airwaves was first reported by OurSask.ca , a Saskatchewan blog. It was not immediately known which or how many radio stations the advertisement appeared on.
Established with the passage of the Indian Act in 1876, the Indian residential school system was funded by the federal government and administered by various churches. The last residential schools in the country closed just over 20 years ago.
The system is widely understood to have caused great harm to generations of Indigenous children who were separated from their families and stripped of their language and culture, with the aim of assimilation.
In 2006, the federal government announced a $2-billion compensation package for approximately 86,000 survivors and family members. Two years after that, then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered a public apology for the harm caused by residential schools.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in the summer of 2015, delivered the final report documenting the history and effects of the Indian residential school system. The report included 94 recommendations.
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