17 Jun 2010

Truth and reconciliation commission begins work in Canada

1:02 pm on 17 June 2010

A truth and reconciliation commission in Canada is holding its first national hearing into the way indigenous children were treated up to the 1970s.

Indian residential schools were the result of a system that, for generations, forced indigenous children to attend government and church sponsored boarding schools.

Many children were physically and sexually abused in the schools and were forced to abandon their cultural identity.

Around 150,000 children attended the schools.

The commission's work is part of the settlement agreed by the Canadian government four years ago.

It included an apology from the prime minister and payments of more than $US2 billion to victims and their families.

The first hearing is in Winnipeg. It is the first of seven across the country.