Aboriginal leaders - some in traditional garb - sat in a circle in front of Harper in the House of Commons as he officially said sorry to former students on behalf of the federal government.
"The government of Canada sincerely apologizes and asks the forgiveness of the Aboriginal Peoples of this country for failing them so profoundly," Harper said. "We are sorry."
"Two primary objectives of the residential schools system were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures and to assimilate them into the dominant culture.
"These objectives were based on the assumption aboriginal cultures and spiritual beliefs were inferior and unequal. Indeed, some sought, as it was infamously said, 'To kill the Indian in the child.' read full story