A court ruling early in the new year is expected to determine the fate of millions of documents related to Canada's residential school legacy.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission said the federal government is obligated to release the documents, but the government disagrees.

Survivors in Northern Ontario say Canada needs to stop hiding from history.

Elsie Kwandibens was seven years old back in 1955 when she was taken from her family and sent hundreds of kilometres away to MacIntosh Residential school near Kenora.

It's the same school her mother was forced to attend and Kwandibens said she has a right to know everything about what happened to the children there, especially the ones who died.

"The government is hiding a lot of things," said Kwandibens. "There was a lot of deaths ... some of them were beaten to death."

Kwandibens said health and death records would be especially helpful.

She said her spine was injured in a fall at the residential school, but no doctor was called.

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Saul Day was 12 when this picture was taken of him at McIntosh Indian Residential School.

"My spine mended the way it did and I suffer from scholeosis now, and I have four different areas in my spine that are arthritic now, so it's been a painful road," she said.

Saul Day went to the same school starting at the age of six.

He has tried for years to piece together what happened to the children who never made it home.

"I got a copy of the death register and it's thick, so where are the graves?" Day asked. "Is there any documentation, we don't know that."

You cannot grieve what you do not know, Day said, therefore healing is impossible until all the documents are available to survivors.