Ahead of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) is hosting a film screening and panel discussion of the Île-à-la-Crosse Métis Residential School Documentary, exploring the oft-overlooked plight of Métis residential school Survivors and the painful legacy of residential schools for Métis communities across the Homeland.

Members of the community and media are welcome to attend the film screening at The National Arts Centre (Canada Room) at 1 Elgin St, Ottawa, ON, on Wednesday, September 27. Doors open at 6 pm, with the film screening beginning at 7:00 pm followed by a panel discussion. The event will also be available on our YouTube channel here.

Created by renowned Métis filmmaker Matt LeMay of Indigenous Geographic, the Île-à-la-Crosse Métis Residential School Documentary recounts the harrowing journey of Métis Survivors from the Île-à-la-Crosse Métis Residential School. Through raw interviews and powerful storytelling, the film follows the Survivors’ protracted struggle for official recognition and compensation from the Federal Government, Provincial Government, and the Catholic Church. It also lays bare the intergenerational harm inflicted upon them, their families, and their community while spotlighting their unwavering quest for justice.

The panel discussion will explore the ongoing impacts of intergenerational trauma for Métis communities as depicted in the film and paths to healing and Reconciliation. The discussion will also address how the Métis experience of residential schools has yet to be told, despite countless Métis children attending residential schools and the existence of schools built specifically for Métis children, including the school in Île-à-la-Crosse. These survivors are working hard to tell their stories and seek justice.

Moderated by Huron-Superior Regional Councillor from Region Four, Mitch Case, the panel will feature an Île-à-la-Crosse Métis residential school intergenerational Survivor, Duane Favel, Vice-President of the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan, Michelle LeClair, and Special Interlocutor for Missing Children and Unmarked Burials, Kimberly Murray. Remarks will also be delivered by President of the Métis National Council (MNC), Cassidy Caron, and President of the MNO, Margaret Froh.

Interviews with spokespeople are available upon request on the film and the significance that National Day for Truth and Reconciliation holds for Métis communities.

Quick facts: the Métis and residential schools

  • Métis children attended residential schools.
  • Even during periods when the Federal Government sought to ban Métis children from residential schools, church leaders continued to recruit Métis students.
  • Provincial governments and school boards were often unwilling to build schools in Métis communities or allow them to attend public schools, resulting in many Métis children being sent to these institutions as a last resort for an education.
  • From the 1950s onwards, many Métis children attended residential schools that were operated by provincial governments in northern and remote areas.
  • The Federal Government’s position on accepting Métis students was caught between an unwillingness to pay for education and a fear that if they didn’t attend these schools, they would never be assimilated. As a result, students would often go undocumented.
  • The student experience would have varied according to time and place but there is no denying that the harm done to the children, their parents, and the Métis community was substantial.


“In Matt LeMay’s evocative film, the profound and enduring intergenerational impacts of the residential school system on Métis individuals, families, and communities are vividly brought to light. This film is so important because the Métis have often been treated as ‘Canada’s forgotten people’ and the narratives of Métis Survivors have historically gone unheard. Our Citizens firmly believe that this painful chapter in our history must be acknowledged, discussed, and collectively processed, not only for the well-being of Survivors, but also for the benefit of our youth and communities, fostering the healing of our people.

On this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, as we solemnly acknowledge and contemplate the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools, I urge all Canadians to consider how they can actively contribute to the process of Reconciliation, today and every day. An essential first step is to listen to our stories, including those of Métis Survivors, as shared in the poignant documentary on the Île-à-la-Crosse Métis Residential School, and then to join them in their call for Justice. “

– Margaret Froh, President of the MNO

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About the MNO

In 1993, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) was established through the will of Métis people and their communities coming together throughout Ontario to create a Métis-specific, democratic, province-wide governance structure. The MNO represents and advocates on behalf of its citizens who are rights-bearing members of Métis communities that collectively hold rights, interests, and outstanding claims protected by Sections 25 and 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, including, but not limited to, the right of self-government. Ontario is home to the 2003 Powley decision, in which the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the existence of the Métis right to harvest for food that is protected by Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution. Powley was—and remains—the only Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) decision affirming Métis rights protected by Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

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Katie Duklas
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