Preserving a ‘dark past’: University makes 3D virtual replicas of residential schools 

CALGARY- A new project from the University of Calgary’s Taylor Family Digital Library is creating 3D digital records of some Alberta residential schools.

In consultation with Indigenous communities, the library has created accurate virtual and physical models of three former residential schools with plans for more in the future.

Prof. Peter Dawson, the project’s leader, says it is important to preserve a dark part of Canada’s history for future generations.

The scans will eventually be archived at each former school and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

Stories from residential school survivors will be embedded into each virtual replica of the schools at Siksika, east of Calgary, Blue Quills in St. Paul, and Poundmaker’s Lodge Carriage House, which once formed part of the Edmonton Indian Residential School in St. Albert.

Vivian Ayoungman, who spent nine years at the school at Siksika, says it’s important that young people know the truth and not think the residential school experience was part of someone’s imagination.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2022.

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