Some Resources for Learning about Residential Schools in Canada

Every child matters.

The recent discovery of the unmarked burial ground in Kamloops B.C has prompted many Canadians to think about and reflect on our knowledge (or lack thereof) about residential schools in Canada.

Starting in the 1800s and running until 1996, residential schools were established by Christian churches and sponsored by the Canadian government to assimilate Indigenous children into the Euro-Canadian culture. Many Indigenous children, families, and communities suffered as a direct result of the residential school system.

If we are to help create a more just and equitable future, it is crucuial for non-Indigenous people to understand the impact of residential schools on Indigenous peoples and communities. If you’ve been reading the news and find yourself unsure about the meaning of terms like “Indian Residential School”, “60s Scoop”, “Indian Day School” or “Millennium Scoop” (to name just a few), here are some helpful resources you can use as a starting point to learn more about residential schools and the resulting intergenerational trauma that many Indigenous people continue to live with today.


Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Secret Path

Videos (login with your S number and password to view some of these):

Residential Schools in Canada – A Timeline

Cold Journey

Stories are in Our Bones

Indian Horse

We Were Children

Ebooks (login with your S number and password to view):

Broken circle: the dark legacy of Indian residential schools: a memoir by Theodore Fontaine

A knock on the door: the essential history of residential schools by Phil Fontaine

They came for the children Canada, Aboriginal peoples, and residential schools by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Canada’s Residential Schools: Missing children and unmarked burials by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

“A national crime”: the Canadian government and the residential school system, 1879 to 1986 by John Sheridan Milloy and Mary Jane McCallum

Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese 

“Many people have said over the years…”Why can’t you just get over it and move on?” “My answer has always been: “Why can’t you always remember this?” Because this is about memorializing those people who have been the victims of a great wrong… We should never forget, even once they have learned from it, because it’s part of who we are. It’s not just a part of who we are as survivors and children of survivors and relatives of survivors, it’s part of who we are as a nation. And this nation must never forget what it once did to its most vulnerable people.”

– Murray Sinclair

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