One day in 1970, Phillip Swain and Roderick Taypaywaykejick escaped St. Mary’s Indian Residential School in Kenora, Ont. Their plan was to walk home to Grassy Narrows First Nation, an 85-km trek. They arrived in coffins instead.
One of thousands of stories. All told, the federal government spent more than a century snatching Indigenous children from their families and placing them in church-run schools, where assimilation, not education, was the primary goal. More than 3,200 kids died inside those hellish institutions, and hundreds of the dead remain unidentified, their names never properly recorded.
For Maclean's Magazine.