Podcast News

Unravelling the legacy of Kuper Island, one of Canada's most notorious residential schools

Debuting May 17, CBC Podcasts' Kuper Island is a weekly, eight-part series that tells the stories of four children who were forced to attend one of Canada's most notorious residential schools.  

Investigative reporter Duncan McCue explores the impact of one residential school in a new podcast series

The new CBC Podcasts series, Kuper Island, is hosted by investigative reporter Duncan McCue. (Evan Aagaard/CBC)

By the time it closed in 1975, B.C.'s Kuper Island Residential School was known as Canada's Alcatraz — a place where generations of children were torn from their families and subjected to genocidal abuses.

Long after the school was torn down, the community and the survivors are still haunted by what happened there. CBC Podcasts' Kuper Island tells the history and ugly legacy of Indian Residential Schools through the stories of four children: three who survived and one who didn't.

In this eight-part series, investigative reporter Duncan McCue exposes buried police investigations and long-lost coroner's reports, confronts abusers and witnesses a community trying to rebuild — literally on top of the old school's ruins and unmarked graves of Indigenous children

"I wanted to go beyond the cold, hard numbers of unmarked graves, to help people understand the deaths of children at a residential school aren't a thing of the past. These tragic deaths travel like ripples over water, touching generations. These were children who were loved and had dreams — and their loss still impacts Indigenous lives today," says McCue.

Listen to Duncan McCue on CBC's The Current:

Working with producers Martha Troian and Jodie Martinson, McCue goes back to the survivors to share what they've learned and where they go from here.

Kuper Island releases weekly, starting on May 17. 

Listen to Kuper Island here:


Support is available for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools, and those who are triggered by the latest reports.

A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected.

Emotional and crisis referral services can be accessed by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.

KUU-US Crisis Line Society (B.C.): A First Nations and Indigenous specific crisis line available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, toll-free from anywhere in British Columbia. KUU-US Crisis Line can be reached toll-free at 1-800-588-8717.  Alternatively, individuals can directly call the Youth Line at 250-723-2040 or the Adult Line at 250-723-4050.

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line (National): The Hope for Wellness Help Line offers immediate help to all Indigenous peoples across Canada and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and offers both counselling and crisis intervention. Call 1-855-242-3310.

Kids Help Phone (ages 5-20, French and English): Call 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868.

Talk Suicide Canada is at 1-833-456-4566 (phone) 24 hours a day or by text at 45645 from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET, and through the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, you can find a 24-hour crisis centre.

This guide from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health outlines how to talk about suicide with someone you're worried about.

Contact the team

Do you have a story about Kuper Island Residential School? You can contact Duncan McCue at duncan.mccue@cbc.ca or via Twitter @duncanmccue