Photograph Archives

The General Council Archives of the United Church of Canada (in Toronto) holds a substantial collection of photographs depicting the students, staff, and buildings of their residential schools. In many cases, church officials and principals took these photographs for the purpose of promoting the schools and the assimilation of Indigenous children. They are a concrete expression of the Methodist and United Church’s role in colonization.

At the same time, these photographs speak to the strength and resilience of the children and their families and communities. While many photographs are of students, they often remain unidentified in the records. We have provided the opportunity for viewers to contribute any information they may have about these images to provide a deeper understanding of the photographs’ context. Any information about individuals in the images will not be posted online, for privacy reasons. The purpose of gathering this information is to ensure the records are as helpful as possible for the Truth and Reconciliation process.

Please note that descriptions may include outdated cultural references, stereotypes, or problematic wording that is no longer used or considered appropriate and does not reflect the views of the United Church of Canada and their commitments to equity. Please see The United Church of Canada Archives Equity Statement for more information.

Collections

Below is a list of collections and fonds where images on this site can be found.