Residential Schools: A Sad Chapter in Canadian History

After collecting testimonies, over a six-year period, of the abuse suffered by former students of First Nations residential schools, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its summary report on June 2, 2015.

The commission concludes that residential schools were a key tool of cultural genocide against Canada's First Nations, and that only a major recommitment by the government of Canada to allow them access to equal opportunities can pave the way towards true reconciliation.

Since the late 19th century, about 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children were removed from their families and forcibly sent to residential schools. The last residential school, near Regina, closed its doors in 1996.

The commission traveled across the country not only to hear from former students of First Nations residential schools, but also to facilitate reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

This collection provides a concise overview of this dark page in Canadian history.

  • 2015
  • 13-14
  • 23 Titles

Teacher Guide(s)

  • Canada's Residential School Apology

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  • Residential Schools: Truth and Healing

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Included in this collection

The National Aboriginal Children Used as Test Subjects

Newly surfaced documents shine a light on experiments that were conducted on hundreds of aboriginal individuals, most of them young children, during and following World War II. Residential schools were the testing grounds for government scientists to observe the effects of several products on the malnurished bodies of aboriginal children without their consent or even their knowing. 
  • 2013
  • 00:03:07
  • 15-17
  • Added on: 04/15/2014

As It Happens Alvin Dixon on Residential School and Nutritional Experiments

Alvin Dixon remembered being so hungry as a child that he had to steal food. Mr. Dixon was a survivor of the residential school system, and a victim of a government-run malnutrition experiment. He died on July 20 at the age of 77. In his first year at a B.C. residential school, Alvin Dixon said he remembered finding it strange ...
  • 2014
  • 00:03:26
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 08/08/2014

Cross Country Checkup Art and reconciliation

The Secret Path is a powerful film about an Indigenous boy who dies escaping a residential school. Does art — films, books and music — offer the best path to heal historical wrongs? Guests include Joseph Boyden, award-winning author of Three Day Road, The Orenda and most recently the novella Wenjack; Susan Aglukark, Inuk singer and songwriter; Ry Moran, Director of the National Centre for ...
  • 2016
  • 01:53:03
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 11/10/2016

News in Review - September 2008 Canada's Residential School Apology

In June 2008, the Government of Canada apologized to Indigenous Canadians for the way they were treated in residential schools. Thousands of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children were forced into government-financed schools where many suffered physical and sexual abuse. In this News in Review story, we’ll look at that sad chapter in Canadian history and at the moving ceremony ...
  • 2008
  • 00:18:33
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/15/2008

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Teacher Guide(s)

  • Canada's Residential School Apology

CBC Arts CBC Arts Road to Reconciliation Panel Discussion

How can Chanie Wenjack's story make a difference? Following The Secret Path broadcast, CBC live-streamed The Road to Reconciliation, a special one-hour panel conversation hosted by Melanie Nepinak Hadley, with CBC's Jesse Wente, filmmaker Tasha Hubbard and National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation director Ry Moran, live from CBC's Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto.
  • 2016
  • 01:08:18
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 11/16/2016

CBC Radio One Thunder Bay Dying For An Education: Little Charlie

He wasn't the first residential school runaway, and he wouldn't be the last. Chanie (Charlie) Wenjack died after fleeing the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario, trying to make it to his home on the Marten Falls First Nation 600 kilometres away. When his story was chronicled by Ian Adams in Maclean's magazine, ordinary Canadians got one of their first ...
  • 2012
  • 00:11:11
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 11/07/2016

The National Ending the Cycle of Abuse

Almost half of the 30,000 children in foster care in Canada are Aboriginal. It's a modern-day crisis that is a direct legacy of Canada's residential school system. The long-awaited report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is calling on governments in Canada to change the way they deliver child welfare for Aboriginal people. CBC News reporter Cameron Macintosh speaks with ...
  • 2015
  • 00:02:14
  • 15-17
  • Added on: 07/06/2015

The National Justice Murray Sinclair Interview

CBC's chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge talks with Justice Murray Sinclair, who heads the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. After just over six years, and the work of recording the statements of over 7,200 residential school survivors, he discusses what Canada needs to do next.
  • 2015
  • 00:13:05
  • 15-17
  • Added on: 09/10/2015