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Trudeau apologises for ‘deep harm’ of residential schools

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Some 150,000 indigenous children over more than 100 years were separated from their families and forced to have a state-run education.

Survivors of five schools in the Atlantic province were left out of a previous 2008 national apology.

The federal government last year reached a deal with those survivors.

The class-action settlement for former pupils amounted to C$50m ($39m; £29.5m).

Mr Trudeau made the apology from Happy Valley-Goose Bay in central Labrador.

“For every Innu, Inuit, and NunatuKavut child in Newfoundland and Labrador who suffered discrimination, mistreatment, abuse, and neglect in residential schools – we are sorry,” he said.

“While this long overdue apology will not undo the harm done, we offer it as a sign that we as a government and as a country accept responsibility for our failings.”

Between 1884 until 1996, when the last of the schools closed, children were removed and separated from their families and communities and sent to residential schools – church-run institutions and government-funded boarding schools.

More than 3,000 children died while at the schools and others suffered physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

“This burden is one you no longer have to carry alone. It’s my hope you can get some closure, that you can give your inner child some rest, that you can finally begin to heal,” he said.

In the early 20th Century, the Moravian Mission and the International Grenfell Association established boarding schools for indigenous children with the support of the province. The last of those schools closed in 1980.

The survivors were excluded from the formal federal apology issued by former prime minister Stephen Harper almost a decade ago because the schools existed before the Atlantic province joined the confederation of Canada in 1949.

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