Catholic order that staffed Kamloops school agrees to share archives

The Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., is shown in this 1930 handout photo. (HO - Deschatelets-NDC Archives)

The congregation of Catholic women that staffed the Kamloops residential school for decades has reached an agreement with the Royal BC Museum to make its records more accessible to Indigenous communities, including the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nation.

The Sisters of St. Ann and the museum signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday that they said aims to “provide enhanced access” to its private archives to the museum.

“We affirm our commitment to collaborate in finding the truth and will assist in the process in whatever way we can,” Sister Marie Zarowny, president and board chair of the Sisters of St. Ann, said in a news release.

B.C. Archives staff will review the records, working alongside the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at the University of British Columbia who will act as a “neutral third party” to increase transparency, the release said.

According to the congregation, those archival records include correspondence, photographs, financial records and accounts of daily life.

First Nations have called for the Sisters of St. Ann to release any and all records it retains after the discovery last month of the potential unmarked graves of up to 215 children, some as young as three, on the grounds of the former residential school.

The MOU is scheduled to take effect July 1.

The Sisters of St. Ann taught at the Kamloops Indian Residential School from 1890 to 1891, and 1893 to 1970 and also provided child care and nursing services.


with files from CTV News