Dozens of people gathered in Saskatoon today to draw attention to the recent discovery that nutritional experiments were carried out on aboriginals during the 1940s and '50s.

The rally took place at the Vimy Memorial Bandshell, where the crowd collected at noon to talk, pray and pressure the federal government to release documents that could reveal further abuses. Ottawa promised to release documents to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission after its 2008 apology to residential school survivors.

Erica Lee, an organizer of the event, anticipates this is only the beginning.

"What we're hoping is that it will kick off more pressure on the federal government to release residential school documentation that hasn't been released and also to keep it fresh in the minds of Canadians that this is a legacy that we've all inherited as Canadians and we have to address it," she said.

Documents a form of closure

Sarah Cochran said she took part in the rally to stop the damage of residential schools passing on to her kids. Her father went to a residential school and she said he was broken by the experience.


People gathered at Saskatoon's Vimy Memorial Bandshell on Thursday to express how they feel towards the discovery that the federal government conducted nutritional experiments on aboriginals during the 40s and 50s. (David Shield/CBC)

"It's just a form of closure," she said. "I'm fairly certain I know of the things that are in the documents. Being a part of a First nations family, you hear the stories, you know what happened, but the fact that the release would mean people outside the First Nations community would have more of a sense."

The news that the federal government carried out the experiments came to light after Ian Mosby, a historian at the University of Guelph who specializes on the history of food in Canada, discovered documents that referenced the experiments. He revealed that the government carried out experiments on at least 1,300 aboriginals across the country.

Rallies also took place today in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Sudbury and Ottawa.