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Orange Shirt Day Book Display: Start Here
Resources to support Orange Shirt Day, an annual event observed on September 30th to acknowledge the harm and trauma caused by Indian Residential Schools
In this layered short film, filmmaker Janine Windolph takes her young sons fishing with their kokum (grandmother), a residential school survivor who retains a deep knowledge and memory of the land. The act of reconnecting with their homeland is a cultural and familial healing journey for the boys, who are growing up in the city. It’s also a powerful form of resistance for the women.
In a pounding critique of Canada's colonial history, this short film draws parallels between the annihilation of the bison in the 1890s and the devastation inflicted on the Indigenous population by the residential school system.
Biographies and Memoirs from Residential School Survivors
BC Book Prize, Non-Fiction, Bev Sellars, They Called Me Number One (Finalist) Burt Award for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Literature: Bev Sellars, They Called Me Number One (Third Prize winner) Like thousands of Aboriginal children in Canada, and elsewhere in the colonized world, Xatsu'll chief Bev Sellars spent part of her childhood as a student in a church-run residential school. These institutions endeavored to "civilize" Native children through Christian teachings; forced separation from family, language, and culture; and strict discipline. Perhaps the most symbolically potent strategy used to alienate residential school children was addressing them by assigned numbers only--not by the names with which they knew and understood themselves. In this frank and poignant memoir of her years at St. Joseph's Mission, Sellars breaks her silence about the residential school's lasting effects on her and her family--from substance abuse to suicide attempts--and eloquently articulates her own path to healing. Number One comes at a time of recognition--by governments and society at large--that only through knowing the truth about these past injustices can we begin to redress them.
Theodore (Ted) Fontaine lost his family and freedom just after his seventh birthday, when his parents were forced to leave him at an Indian residential school by order of the Roman Catholic Church and the Government of Canada. Twelve years later, he left school frozen at the emotional age of seven. He was confused, angry and conflicted, on a path of self-destruction. At age 29, he emerged from this blackness. By age 32, he had graduated from the Civil Engineering Program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and begun a journey of self-exploration and healing. In this powerful and poignant memoir, Ted examines the impact of his psychological, emotional and sexual abuse, the loss of his language and culture, and, most important, the loss of his family and community. He goes beyond details of the abuses of Native children to relate a unique understanding of why most residential school survivors have post-traumatic stress disorders and why succeeding generations of First Nations children suffer from this dark chapter in history. Told as remembrances described with insights that have evolved through his healing, his story resonates with his resolve to help himself and other residential school survivors and to share his enduring belief that one can pick up the shattered pieces and use them for good.
This is a resource book not only for historians and anthropologists, but also for Native people exploring personal and community histories. The stories told in the book may encourage other former students in their healing process.
"This story of a child is heartbreaking and important. It brings into dramatic focus why we need reconciliation." - James Daschuk, author of Clearing the Plains This memoir offers a courageous and intimate chronicle of life in a residential school. Now a retired fisherman and trapper, the author was one of an estimated 150,000 First Nations, Inuit, and Metis children who were taken from their families and sent to government-funded, church-run schools, where they were subjected to a policy of "aggressive assimilation." As Augie Merasty recounts, these schools did more than attempt to mold children in the ways of white society. They were taught to be ashamed of their native heritage and, as he experienced, often suffered physical and sexual abuse. But, even as he looks back on this painful part of his childhood, Merasty's sense of humour and warm voice shine through.
Burning in the Midnight Dream is the latest collection of poems by Louise Bernice Halfe. Many were written in response to the grim tide of emotions, memories, dreams and nightmares that arose in her as the Truth and Reconciliation process unfolded. With fearlessly wrought verse, Halfe describes how the experience of the residential schools continues to haunt those who survive, and how the effects pass like a virus from one generation to the next. She asks us to consider the damage done to children taken from their families, to families mourning their children; damage done to entire communities and to ancient cultures. Halfe's poetic voice soars in this incredibly moving collection as she digs deep to discover the root of her pain. Her images, created from the natural world, reveal the spiritual strength of her culture.
When residential schools opened in the 1830s, First Nations envisioned their own teachers, ministers, and interpreters. Instead, students were regularly forced to renounce their cultures and languages and some were subjected to degradations and abuses that left severe emotional scars for generations. In Finding My Talk, fourteen aboriginal women who attended residential schools, or were affected by them, reflect on their experiences. They describe their years in residential schools across Canada and how they overcame tremendous obstacles to become strong and independent members of aboriginal cultures and valuable members of Canadian society. Biographies include: Eleanor Brass, Journalist, Plains Cree, Saskatchewan Rita Joe, Poet/Writer, Mi'kmaq, Nova Scotia Alice French, Writer, Inuit, Northwest Territories Shirley Sterling, School Administrator/Storyteller, Nlakapmux, British Columbia Doris Pratt, Education Administrator/Language Specialist, Dakota, Manitoba Edith Dalla Costa, School Counsellor, Woodland Cree, Alberta Sara Sabourin, Community Worker, Ojibway, Ontario. Dr. Agnes Grant worked with the Native Teacher Training programs at Brandon University, Manitoba, for thirty years. As an administrator and professor, she spent much of her time in remote communities. Dr. Grant is the author of No End of Grief: Indian Residential Schools in Canada and three other books. She lives in Winnipeg.
This important and timely book is a balance of the most gruesome elements of assimilation: church-run schools, the child welfare system, survivors of sexual abuse, and Foetal Alcohol Syndrome counter-balanced against heroic stories of children who survived, fought back, and found their way home. Harrrowing stories are presented wherever possible in the first person, by Fournier, a journalist, and Cree, a B.C native spokesperson and activist, and a stolen child himself. The final message is optimistic, suggesting that redress and reconciliation could enrich the entire country by creating healthy aboriginal communities.
Arthur Bear Chief suffered both sexual and psychological abuse during his time at Old Sun Residential school in Gleichen on the Siksika Nation. My Decade at Old Sun, My Lifetime of Hell is a of chronological vignettes that depict the punishment, cruelty, and injustice that Arthur endured at Old Sun and then later relived in the traumatic process of retelling his story in connection with a complicated claims procedure.Late in life, after working for both the provincial and federal government, Arthur returned home to Gleichen. It was there that he began to reconnect with Blackfoot language and culture and to write his story.
118 framed archival photographs, text panels, maps, original classroom textbooks and historical government papers selected from nine public and church archives, and depicts the history and legacy of Canada’s Residential School System. Where are the Children? spans over 130 years and contains photographs and documents from the 1880s to present day.
Orange Shirt Day originated in 2013 as a result of Indian Residential School survivor Phyllis Jack Webstad discussing her experience when she arrived at the St. Joseph Mission residential school. On her first day at residential school, Phyllis had her her brand new orange shirt taken away from her. Phyllis' experience is used today to teach students about residential schools, their acculturation and assimilation practices, and the long lasting harm they caused.
Participants wear orange Every Child Matters shirts and accessories in observance of the annual event. September 30th was chosen for the annual event because it is the time of year when Indigenous children were taken from their homes and put into residential schools.
What are Indian Residential Schools?
Indigenous Residential Schools were an extensive school system set up by the Canadian government and administered by churches. Their goal was to educate First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children and indoctrinate them into Euro-Canadian and Christian ways of living, and assimilating them into mainstream Canadian society. The residential school system operated from the 1880s until 1996. The system forcibly separated children from their families for long periods of time and forbade them to acknowledge their Indigenous heritage and culture or to speak their own languages. Children were severely punished if these, among other, strict rules were broken. Former students of residential schools have spoken of horrendous abuse at the hands of residential school staff: physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological (via UBC Indigenous Foundations)
"When Phyllis Webstad (nee Jack) turned six, she went to the residential school for the first time. On her first day at school, she wore a shiny orange shirt that her Granny had bought for her, but when she got to the school, it was taken away from her and never returned. This is the true story of Phyllis and her orange shirt. It is also the story of Orange Shirt Day (an important day of remembrance for First Nations and non First Nations Canadians)."
Wawahte by Robert P. WellsAn important work that collects and preserves stories whose value will never diminish. Kirkus Reviews Wawahte is one of the few books that I would strongly recommend to anyone who needs to understand Aboriginal issues in Canada. This book should be part of our school curricula. Dave Loftus For all the people who read this book may they be forever enlightened. By shining the light on a dark part of our past we have a chance to create a bright new day for aboriginals and all Canadians. We will all know what happened and then come to realize that what happens now and our vision for a future together is what really counts. Together we will stand for what is right and the intention of Indian residential schools and colonization will not happen again With Deep Respect, Dr. Chief Robert Joseph, Executive Director...
Publication Date: 2016-01-19
Truth and Indignation by Ronald NiezenTruth and Indignation offers the first close and critical assessment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as it is unfolding. Niezen uses interviews with survivors and oblate priests and nuns, as well as testimonies, texts, and visual materials produced by the Commission to raise important questions: What makes Canada's TRC different from others around the world? What kinds of narratives are emerging and what does that mean for reconciliation, transitional justice, and conceptions of traumatic memory? What happens to the ultimate goal of reconciliation when a large part of the testimony--that of nuns, priests, and government officials--is scarcely evident in the Commission's proceedings? Thoughtful, provocative, and uncompromising in the need to tell the "truth" as he sees it, Niezen offers an important contribution to our understanding of TRC processes in general, and the Canadian experience in particular.
Publication Date: 2013-10-22
Resistance and Renewal by Celia Haig-BrownOne of the first books published to deal with the phenomenon of residential schools in Canada, Resistance and Renewal is a disturbing collection of Native perspectives on the Kamloops Indian Residential School(KIRS) in the British Columbia interior. Interviews with thirteen Natives, all former residents of KIRS, form the nucleus of the book, a frank depiction of school life, and a telling account of the system's oppressive environment which sought to stifle Native culture. Winner of the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize (BC Book Prize) in 1989. Now in its 9th printing.
Publication Date: 2002-07-01
Unsettling the Settler Within by Paulette Regan; Taiaiake Alfred (Foreword by)In 2008, Canada established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to mend the deep rifts between Aboriginal peoples and the settler society that created Canada's notorious residential school system. Unsettling the Settler Within argues that non-Aboriginal Canadians must undergo their own process of decolonization in order to truly participate in the transformative possibilities of reconciliation. Settlers must relinquish the persistent myth of themselves as peacemakers and acknowledge the destructive legacy of a society that has stubbornly ignored and devalued Indigenous experience. A compassionate call to action, this powerful book offers a new and hopeful path toward healing the wounds of the past.
Publication Date: 2010-12-22
Behind Closed Doors by Jack Agnes (Editor)Behind Closed Doors features written testimonials from thirty-two individuals who attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School. The school was one of many infamous residential schools that operated from 1893 to 1979. The storytellers remember and share with us their stolen time at the school; many stories are told through courageous tears.
Publication Date: 2006-11-01
The Circle Game by Roland Chrisjohn; Michael Maraun; Sherri R. YoungWas the residential school era a misguided feature of Canada's generous humanitarian inclinations toward Aboriginal peoples? Were the notorious brutal acts of the operators of these schools the sporadic and isolated deeds of a few malign individuals? The authors of The Circle Game shout a resounding "No!" to these and related questions, arguing that existing accounts in various Canadian and Aboriginal media systematically obscure and misinform about the facts and their interpretation.
Publication Date: 2006-01-17
Emotions, Remembering and Feeling Better by Anne-Marie ReynaudAs the largest class action suit in Canadian history, the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (2007-2015) had a great impact on the lives of Aboriginal survivors across Canada. In a rare account exploring survivor perspectives, Anne-Marie Reynaud considers the settlement's reconciliatory aspiration in conjunction with the local reality for the Mitchikanibikok Inik First Nations in Quebec. Drawing from anthropological fieldwork, this carefully crafted book weaves survivor experiences of the financial compensations and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission together with current theorizing on emotions, memory, trauma, and transitional justice.
Publication Date: 2017-10-24
A Knock on the Door by Philip Fontaine (Foreword by); Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Staff; Aimée Craft (Afterword by)"It can start with a knock on the door one morning. It is the local Indian agent, or the parish priest, or, perhaps, a Mounted Police officer." So began the school experience of many Indigenous children in Canada for more than a hundred years, and so begins the history of residential schools prepared by the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). Between 2008 and 2015, the TRC provided opportunities for individuals, families, and communities to share their experiences of residential schools and released several reports based on 7000 survivor statements and five million documents from government, churches, and schools, as well as a solid grounding in secondary sources.A Knock on the Door, published in collaboration with the National Research Centre for Truth & Reconciliation, gathers material from the several reports the TRC has produced to present the essential history and legacy of residential schools in a concise and accessible package that includes new materials to help inform and contextualize the journey to reconciliation that Canadians are now embarked upon.Survivor and former National Chief of the Assembly First Nations, Phil Fontaine, provides a Foreword, and an Afterword introduces the holdings and opportunities of the National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation, home to the archive of recordings, and documents collected by the TRC. As Aimée Craft writes in the Afterword, knowing the historical backdrop of residential schooling and its legacy is essential to the work of reconciliation. In the past, agents of the Canadian state knocked on the doors of Indigenous families to take the children to school. Now, the Survivors have shared their truths and knocked back. It is time for Canadians to open the door to mutual understanding, respect, and reconciliation.
Publication Date: 2015-12-18
Victims of Benevolence by Elizabeth FurnissAn unsettling study of two tragic events at an Indian residential school in British Columbia which serve as a microcosm of the profound impact the residential school system had on Aboriginal communities in Canada throughout this century. The book's focal points are the death of a runaway boy and the suicide of another while they were students at the Williams Lake Indian Residential School during the early part of this century. Embedded in these stories is the complex relationship between the Department of Indian Affairs, the Oblates, and the Aboriginal communities that in turn has influenced relations between government, church, and Aboriginals today.
Publication Date: 2002-07-01
Burning in This Midnight Dream by Louise Bernice HalfeBurning in the Midnight Dream is the latest collection of poems by Louise Bernice Halfe. Many were written in response to the grim tide of emotions, memories, dreams and nightmares that arose in her as the Truth and Reconciliation process unfolded. With fearlessly wrought verse, Halfe describes how the experience of the residential schools continues to haunt those who survive, and how the effects pass like a virus from one generation to the next. She asks us to consider the damage done to children taken from their families, to families mourning their children; damage done to entire communities and to ancient cultures. Halfe's poetic voice soars in this incredibly moving collection as she digs deep to discover the root of her pain. Her images, created from the natural world, reveal the spiritual strength of her culture.
Publication Date: 2016-04-01
Shingwauk's Vision : a history of native residential schools by J. R. MillerWith the growing strength of minority voices in recent decades has come much impassioned discussion of residential schools, the institutions where attendance by Native children was compulsory as recently as the 1960s. Former students have come forward in increasing numbers to describe the psychological and physical abuse they suffered in these schools, and many view the system as an experiment in cultural genocide. In this first comprehensive history of these institutions, J.R. Miller explores the motives of all three agents in the story. He looks at the separate experiences and agendas of the government officials who authorized the schools, the missionaries who taught in them, and the students who attended them. Starting with the foundations of residential schooling in seventeenth-century New France, Miller traces the modern version of the institution that was created in the 1880s, and, finally, describes the phasing-out of the schools in the 1960s. He looks at instruction, work and recreation, care and abuse, and the growing resistance to the system on the part of students and their families. Based on extensive interviews as well as archival research, Miller's history is particularly rich in Native accounts of the school system. This book is an absolute first in its comprehensive treatment of this subject. J.R. Miller has written a new chapter in the history of relations between indigenous and immigrant peoples in Canada. Co-winner of the 1996 Saskatchewan Book Award for nonfiction. Winner of the 1996 John Wesley Dafoe Foundation competition for Distinguished Writing by Canadians Named an 'Outstanding Book on the subject of human rights in North America' by the Gustavus Myer Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America.
Publication Date: 1996
Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Volume One: Summary by Truth and Reconcilation Commission of Canada StaffThis is the Final Report of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its six-year investigation of the residential school system for Aboriginal youth and the legacy of these schools. This report, the summary volume, includes the history of residential schools, the legacy of that school system, and the full text of the Commission's 94 recommendations for action to address that legacy. This report lays bare a part of Canada's history that until recently was little-known to most non-Aboriginal Canadians. The Commission discusses the logic of the colonization of Canada's territories, and why and how policy and practice developed to end the existence of distinct societies of Aboriginal peoples. Using brief excerpts from the powerful testimony heard from Survivors, this report documents the residential school system which forced children into institutions where they were forbidden to speak their language, required to discard their clothing in favour of institutional wear, given inadequate food, housed in inferior and fire-prone buildings, required to work when they should have been studying, and subjected to emotional, psychological and often physical abuse. In this setting, cruel punishments were all too common, as was sexual abuse. More than 30,000 Survivors have been compensated financially by the Government of Canada for their experiences in residential schools, but the legacy of this experience is ongoing today. This report explains the links to high rates of Aboriginal children being taken from their families, abuse of drugs and alcohol, and high rates of suicide. The report documents the drastic decline in the presence of Aboriginal languages, even as Survivors and others work to maintain their distinctive cultures, traditions, and governance. The report offers 94 calls to action on the part of governments, churches, public institutions and non-Aboriginal Canadians as a path to meaningful reconciliation of Canada today with Aboriginal citizens. Even though the historical experience of residential schools constituted an act of cultural genocide by Canadian government authorities, the United Nation's declaration of the rights of aboriginal peoples and the specific recommendations of the Commission offer a path to move from apology for these events to true reconciliation that can be embraced by all Canadians.
Publication Date: 2015-08-04
Canada's Residential Schools - Missing Children and Unmarked Burials by Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada StaffBetween 1867 and 2000, the Canadian government sent over 150,000 Aboriginal children to residential schools across the country. Government officials and missionaries agreed that in order to ?civilize and Christianize? Aboriginal children, it was necessary to separate them from their parents and their home communities. For children, life in these schools was lonely and alien. Discipline was harsh, and daily life was highly regimented. Aboriginal languages and cultures were denigrated and suppressed. Education and technical training too often gave way to the drudgery of doing the chores necessary to make the schools self-sustaining. Child neglect was institutionalized, and the lack of supervision created situations where students were prey to sexual and physical abusers. Legal action by the schools? former students led to the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2008. The product of over six years of research, the Commission?s final report outlines the history and legacy of the schools, and charts a pathway towards reconciliation. Canada?s Residential Schools: Missing Children and Unmarked Burials is the first systematic effort to record and analyze deaths at the schools, and the presence and condition of student cemeteries, within the regulatory context in which the schools were intended to operate. As part of its work the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada established a National Residential School Student Death Register. Due to gaps in the available data, the register is far from complete. Although the actual number of deaths is believed to be far higher, 3,200 residential school victims have been identified. The analysis also demonstrates that residential school death rates were significantly higher than those for the general Canadian school-aged population. The failure to establish and enforce adequate standards of care, coupled with the failure to adequately fund the schools, resulted in unnecessarily high death rates at residential schools. Senior government and church officials were well aware of the schools? ongoing failure to provide adequate levels of custodial care. Children who died at the schools were rarely sent back to their home community. They were usually buried in school or nearby mission cemeteries. As the schools and missions closed, these cemeteries were abandoned. While in a number of instances Aboriginal communities, churches, and former staff have taken steps to rehabilitate cemeteries and commemorate the individuals buried there, most of these cemeteries are now disused and vulnerable to accidental disturbance. In the face of this abandonment, the TRC is proposing the development of a national strategy for the documentation, maintenance, commemoration, and protection of residential school cemeteries.
A National Crime by John S. Milloy; Mary Jane Logan McCallum (Foreword by)"I am going to tell you how we are treated. I am always hungry." -- Edward B., a student at Onion Lake School (1923)"[I]f I were appointed by the Dominion Government for the express purpose of spreading tuberculosis, there is nothing finer in existance that the average Indian residential school." -- N. Walker, Indian Affairs Superintendent (1948)For over 100 years, thousands of Aboriginal children passed through the Canadian residential school system. Begun in the 1870s, it was intended, in the words of government officials, to bring these children into the "circle of civilization," the results, however, were far different. More often, the schools provided an inferior education in an atmosphere of neglect, disease, and often abuse. Using previously unreleased government documents, historian John S. Milloy provides a full picture of the history and reality of the residential school system. He begins by tracing the ideological roots of the system, and follows the paper trail of internal memoranda, reports from field inspectors, and letters of complaint. In the early decades, the system grew without planning or restraint. Despite numerous critical commissions and reports, it persisted into the 1970s, when it transformed itself into a social welfare system without improving conditions for its thousands of wards. A National Crime shows that the residential system was chronically underfunded and often mismanaged, and documents in detail and how this affected the health, education, and well-being of entire generations of Aboriginal children.
Publication Date: 2017-03-29
Canada's Residential Schools - The Legacy by Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada StaffBetween 1867 and 2000, the Canadian government sent over 150,000 Aboriginal children to residential schools across the country. Government officials and missionaries agreed that in order to ?civilize and Christianize? Aboriginal children, it was necessary to separate them from their parents and their home communities. For children, life in these schools was lonely and alien. Discipline was harsh, and daily life was highly regimented. Aboriginal languages and cultures were denigrated and suppressed. Education and technical training too often gave way to the drudgery of doing the chores necessary to make the schools self-sustaining. Child neglect was institutionalized, and the lack of supervision created situations where students were prey to sexual and physical abusers. Legal action by the schools? former students led to the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2008. The product of over six years of research, the Commission?s final report outlines the history and legacy of the schools, and charts a pathway towards reconciliation. Canada?s Residential Schools: The Legacy describes what Canada must do to overcome the schools? tragic legacy and move towards reconciliation with the country?s first peoples. For over 125 years Aboriginal children suffered abuse and neglect in residential schools run by the Canadian government and by churches. They were taken from their families and communities and confined in large, frightening institutions where they were cut off from their culture and punished for speaking their own language. Infectious diseases claimed the lives of many students and those who survived lived in harsh and alienating conditions. There was little compassion and little education in most of Canada?s residential schools. Although Canada has formally apologized for the residential school system and has compensated its Survivors, the damaging legacy of the schools continues to this day. This volume examines the long shadow that the residential schools have cast over the lives of Aboriginal Canadians who are more likely to live in poverty, more likely to be in ill health and die sooner, more likely to have their children taken from them, and more likely to be imprisoned than other Canadians. The disappearance of many Indigenous languages and the erosion of cultural traditions and languages also have their roots in residential schools.
Publication Date: 2015-12-09
Canada's Residential Schools - Reconciliation by Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada StaffBetween 1867 and 2000, the Canadian government sent over 150,000 Aboriginal children to residential schools across the country. Government officials and missionaries agreed that in order to "civilize and Christianize" Aboriginal children, it was necessary to separate them from their parents and their home communities. For children, life in these schools was lonely and alien. Discipline was harsh, and daily life was highly regimented. Aboriginal languages and cultures were denigrated and suppressed. Education and technical training too often gave way to the drudgery of doing the chores necessary to make the schools self-sustaining. Child neglect was institutionalized, and the lack of supervision created situations where students were prey to sexual and physical abusers. Legal action by the schools' former students led to the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2008. The product of over six years of research, the Commission's final report outlines the history and legacy of the schools, and charts a pathway towards reconciliation. Canada's Residential Schools: Reconciliation documents the complexities, challenges, and possibilities of reconciliation by presenting the findings of public testimonies from residential school Survivors and others who participated in the TRC's national events and community hearings. For many Aboriginal people, reconciliation is foremost about healing families and communities, and revitalizing Indigenous cultures, languages, spirituality, laws, and governance systems. For governments, building a respectful relationship involves dismantling a centuries-old political and bureaucratic culture in which, all too often, policies and programs are still based on failed notions of assimilation. For churches, demonstrating long-term commitment to reconciliation requires atoning for harmful actions in the residential schools, respecting Indigenous spirituality, and supporting Indigenous peoples' struggles for justice and equity. Schools must teach Canadian history in ways that foster mutual respect, empathy, and engagement. All Canadian children and youth deserve to know what happened in the residential schools and to appreciate the rich history and collective knowledge of Indigenous peoples. This volume also emphasizes the important role of public memory in the reconciliation process, as well as the role of Canadian society, including the corporate and non-profit sectors, the media, and the sports community in reconciliation. The Commission urges Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation. While Aboriginal peoples are victims of violence and discrimination, they are also holders of Treaty, Aboriginal, and human rights and have a critical role to play in reconciliation. All Canadians must understand how traditional First Nations, Inuit, and Métis approaches to resolving conflict, repairing harm, and restoring relationships can inform the reconciliation process. The TRC's calls to action identify the concrete steps that must be taken to ensure that our children and grandchildren can live together in dignity, peace, and prosperity on these lands we now share.
Publication Date: 2015-12-09
Multimedia and Interactive Learning Resources about Residential Schools
Jay Cardinal Villeneuve's short documentary Holy Angels powerfully recaptures Canada's colonialist history through impressionistic images and the fragmented language of a child. In 1963, Lena Wandering Spirit became one of the more than 150,000 Indigenous children who were removed from their families and sent to residential school. Villeneuve met Lena through his work as a videographer with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Wandering Spirit spent six years at the Holy Angels Residential School in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. Against a backdrop of now-empty hallways and classrooms, fragments of memory return - the shadowy figures of nuns, bits of remembered catechism, and the nightmare sounds of the basement boiler. "They call us by number," she remembers. Wandering Spirit's experience, like that of many other adult survivors, remains jagged and bright with pain and fear. But other, deeper memories also endured - of running barefoot in summer and picking berries, of stories shared, and of the warmth and love of family. Five-year-old performer Phoenix Sawan brings Wandering Spirit's recollections to vivid life, dancing through an abandoned building in easy defiance of the bleak history of the place. Filmed with elegance, precision, and fierce determination to not only uncover history but move past it, Holy Angels speaks of the resilience of a people who have found ways of healing - and of coming home again.
To recognize this day, the College is inviting the Centennial community to share pictures of themselves wearing an orange shirt, along with a statement that describes when they first learned about residential schools.
If you're interested in participating, you can add your image & statement to the padlet below.