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Lejac Residential School

The Lejac Indian Residential School was operated by the Catholic Church under contract to the Canadian government from 1922 to 1976 (54 years).  Being in the heart of Dakelh (Carrier) territory many of the thousands of children that attended the school were of Dakelh descent.  However, many children from other communities were brought to Lejac including Gitxsan, Wet'suwet'en and Sekani.

The school was named after Father Jean Marie Lejac who was a Oblate missionary who co-founded the mission at Fort Saint James in 1873.

After the school was closed in 1976 the land was transferred to Nadleh Whut'en First Nation and the buildings were razed.  All that remains today are the cemetery and the Rose Prince memorial

Research Reports on the Four Boys (Allen Patrick 9 years old, Andrew H Paul 8 years old, Justa Maurice 8 years old, and John Michel Jack 7 years old) who froze to death running away from Lejac School .

The Lejac Indian Residential School, located on the Nadleh Whut'en Reserve territory in British Columbia, operated from 1922 until the late 1970s. Run by the Catholic Church, it was part of a nationwide system aiming to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture. The school subjected students to harsh conditions, stripped them of their cultural identities, and forbade them from speaking their native languages.

The experiences at Lejac were tragically similar to those in other residential schools. Indigenous children endured physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, alongside inadequate education and neglect. The school's overcrowded and unsanitary environment, combined with forced labor, exacerbated the trauma inflicted upon these children, many of whom were forcibly separated from their families.

The legacy of Lejac, like other residential schools, is marked by intergenerational trauma, impacting survivors and their descendants. The recent discovery of unmarked graves near former residential school sites, including Lejac, has further emphasized the magnitude of the atrocities committed and the need for truth, healing, and reconciliation.

In response to these painful revelations, the Nadleh Whut'en community, like many Indigenous communities, is engaging in efforts toward healing, cultural revitalization, and commemorating survivors and victims. Reclaiming lost traditions, preserving cultural heritage, and supporting survivors are central to this ongoing journey.

Acknowledging the brutal history of Lejac and other residential schools is vital in the process of truth and reconciliation. The nation's commitment to honoring survivors, addressing historical injustices, and promoting cultural resurgence reflects a collective effort toward healing and restoring the strength and resilience of Indigenous communities.

It's crucial to approach this history with sensitivity, empathy, and a commitment to supporting affected individuals and communities as they navigate the complex and painful legacies of the residential school system.

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