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

The National Stolen Children

After decades of waiting, Aboriginal Canadians received a formal apology from the federal government on June 11, 2008. This landmark event in Canadian history recognized the loss of culture caused by the church-run residential schools that thousands of Aboriginal children were forced to attend. It also acknowledged the physical and sexual abuse that many suffered in those institutions. Stolen Children explores the ...
  • 2008
  • 00:48:24
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 06/14/2013

The National Stolen Children: Truth and Reconciliation

June 2010 marked the first national hearing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, aimed at addressing the painful legacy of residential schools in Canada. First Nations, Métis and Inuit survivors began putting their stories on the official record as the Commission commenced its complex work. This collection of six documentaries from The National profiles Justice Murray Sinclair, Manitoba’s first Aboriginal judge and ...
  • 2010
  • 00:40:06
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 06/14/2013

CBC Arts The Secret Path

This powerful animated film tells the story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old Ojibwa boy who died of exposure in 1966 while running away from Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario. The story is told through music by Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie and illustrations by graphic novelist Jeff Lemire. The Secret Path acknowledges a dark part of Canada’s history — ...
  • 2016
  • 00:59:55
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 11/09/2016

The Fifth Estate Violation of Trust

A searing examination of Canada's 100 years of native residential schools, where aboriginal children had their culture and language beaten out of them, leaving a legacy of alcoholism, abuse and emotional scars. This all-encompassing program focuses on the Williams Lake, B.C. school and the harsh experiences of the children who went there. The program speaks to survivors, an historian, a ...
  • 1991
  • 00:50:08
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 06/14/2013

We Are Canada We Are Canada, Episode 6

Putting seed production back in the hands of the small farmer; preserving the stories of residential school survivors; and building cameras for a new frontier of ocean discovery. In this episode: Adam Gobi, Jane Rabinowicz and Ry Moran.  
  • 2017
  • 00:44:08
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 05/25/2017

Teacher Guide(s)

  • We are Canada Teacher Guide

The Current Why don't residential school survivors just get over it?: Murray Sinclair

To those who ask why Indigenous people don't just "get over" the residential school experience, Senator Murray Sinclair has this response: "My answer has always been: Why can't you always remember this?" Sinclair was speaking at one of The Current's public forums on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG).
  • 2017
  • 00:01:32
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/13/2017