A commission examining Canada’s policy to separate indigenous children from their families says the abuse created a legacy of turmoil.
From the country’s formation in the 19th Century until the 1970s, the children had to attend schools where they were stripped of their identity.
Many of the 150,000 children also suffered physical abuse from the staff at the church-run boarding schools.
An interim report says children left the schools “as lost souls”.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada report, They Came for the Children, says their lives were “soon to be cut short by drugs, alcohol and violence”.
It concludes that the schools were an assault on indigenous children, their families, culture and their nations.
A final report is due to be published in 2014.
They Came For The Children [PDF]
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Interim Report [PDF]