Residential Schools Article Nominated for Prestigious National Magazine Award

Written by Canada’s History

Posted May 3, 2023

Canada's History writer Miles Morrisseau has received a National Magazine Award nomination for his story “A National Crime,” published in the magazine’s October–November 2022 issue. 

Written to mark the hundredth anniversary of Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce’s report, entitled The Story of a National Crime, being an Appeal for Justice to the Indians of Canada, Morrisseau’s story not only delves into that important report, but is also a personal reflection on the effects of the residential school system on the author, his family, and on Indigenous communities across the country. 

The story was published with the support of Defining Moments Canada, a heritage organization dedicated to commemorating seminal moments in Canadians’ shared histories. 

“It really is wonderful to get this recognition,” Morrisseau said. “I am very proud of the work and the efforts put in by everyone — the editing, the layout and design, and the selection and use of photography. It is really special and I'm grateful to all the contributors, the Canada's History team and the folks at Defining Moments for helping to make it so.”

Bryce published and disseminated his report in 1922, after serving for several years as chief medical officer for the Department of the Interior and the Department of Indian Affairs. In it, he went public with the findings from his years of investigations into the crowded, unsanitary, and unhealthy conditions that Indigenous children endured in residential schools in Western Canada. Bryce found extraordinarily elevated rates of tuberculosis and shockingly high mortality among children who attended industrial and boarding schools, most of which were run by the Catholic and Anglican churches. 

However, Bryce’s “appeal for justice” fell upon the deaf ears of the deputy superintendent of the Department of Indian Affairs, poet Duncan Campbell Scott. 

Morrisseau is a member of the Métis Nation whose past work in journalism includes serving as national Indigenous affairs reporter for CBC Radio and as editor-in-chief of both the award-winning Indigenous newspaper Nativebeat, the Beat of a Different Drum and Indian Country Today, the largest Native American weekly newspaper in the United States. He is currently a special correspondent for ICT news. 

Morrisseau’s story is one of ten National Magazine Award nominees in the Personal Journalism category. It was one of nearly one thousand entries submitted to the National Media Awards Foundation by more than one hundred magazines across the country. Founded in 1977, the National Media Awards Foundation is a bilingual charity dedicated to promoting excellence in journalism and visual creation.

The winners of the National Magazine Awards will be announced at a gala on June 2 in Toronto. 

Read the article

A National Crime

One hundred years ago, Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce exposed the horrifying death toll among children in residential schools.

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