By saying "we are sorry," Prime Minister Stephen Harper acknowledged the Canadian government's role in a century of isolating native children from their homes, families and cultures.
"The treatment of children in Indian residential schools is a sad chapter of our history," he said Wednesday in the House of Commons. "Some sought, as was infamously said, to kill the Indian in the child. This policy was wrong, caused great harm and has no place in our country."
Residential school survivors from across Canada -- many wearing traditional clothing -- filled the House of Commons. Parliament postponed other business for the day, to hear the Government of Canada's official apology.
More than 1,000 watched from outside, where big screen televisions were mounted outside the Commons and on the Parliament lawn. And more than 30 events were organized in communities across the country.
Harper began his long-awaited speech after leading a procession of native leaders including Phil Fontaine, the Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, into the House of Commons.
Harper took responsibility on behalf of the federal government for cultural loss and patterns of abuse that resulted from the schools' policy. More...