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
  • 22 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

Power & Politics Justice Murray Sinclair: Nutrition Experiments on Aboriginal Children

During and following World War II residential schools were used as laboratories where scientists would test the effects of several vitamin supplements and other products on the malnurished aboriginal individuals residing there, most of them children. Murray Sinclair, chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, shares his opinion and knowledge on the matter.
  • 2013
  • 00:07:13
  • 15-17
  • Added on: 04/15/2014

News in Review - September 2015 Residential School Shame: The TRC Report

In the 19th century the Canadian government set up the residential school system as a way to teach English and Christianity to Aboriginal children. Successive generations were taken from their families and put in boarding schools run by churches. Over the years, many of the children suffered physical, mental and even sexual abuse. Many died. In 2008 the Truth and ...
  • 2015
  • 00:18:20
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/18/2015

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Teacher Guide(s)

  • NIR-15-09 - Residential School Shame: The TRC Report

The National Residential school survivor in search of apology from Pope Francis

As the Pope prepares for a historic summit on sexual abuse in the priesthood, a Canadian Indigenous woman is getting ready to take her painful story to the Vatican in search of an apology from the head of the Catholic Church.
  • 2019
  • 00:02:43
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 03/25/2019

The National Residential Schools

Native Canadians are demanding the federal government act on recommendations of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Among the many recommendations is one that would redress a terrible injustice: residential schools. Native Canadians want to heal the wounds inflicted by those schools, but they say that can't happen until the government apologizes for its involvement and accepts responsibility. Many Native ...
  • 1997
  • 00:23:34
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 06/14/2013

The National Residential Schools and Hockey

Duncan McCue explores how hockey provided an outlet for many Indigenous students in Canada's residential school system.
  • 2014
  • 00:12:48
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 10/13/2016

News in Review - September 2010 Residential Schools: Truth and Healing

For more than 100 years many native children were taken away from their families and forced to stay at residential schools. Two years ago, the Canadian government apologized for the suffering and the abuse many experienced. Now a Truth and Reconciliation Commission is hearing from some of those affected. In this News in Review story, we look at the work ...
  • 2010
  • 00:18:19
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 11/07/2014

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Teacher Guide(s)

  • Residential Schools: Truth and Healing

The Current Senator Lynn Beyak’s remarks 'like a slap in the face': Matilda Wilson

Matilda Wilson, a residential school survivor from Smithers, B.C., rose to speak at a public forum hosted by CBC's The Current. She called Senator Lynn Beyak's comments in defence of the "well-intentioned" people who ran the residential school system "a slap in the face." Wilson shared her own experience being taken to a residential school in 1956, as well as the ...
  • 2017
  • 00:01:03
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/13/2017

The Current Starvation Politics: Aboriginal Nutrition Experiments

If Canada is contrite about taking First Nations children from their families and sending them to residential schools, what apology is appropriate for not feeding them enough once there? We explore new revelations that some Aboriginal people were kept intentionally malnourished for government nutritional experiments. Newly uncovered documents reveal that about the time Canadian soldiers shouldered weapons to stop some ...
  • 2013
  • 00:20:30
  • 15-17
  • Added on: 02/13/2014