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Residential Schools & Reconciliation

The recent discoveries of the unmarked graves of Indigenous children of residential schools such as at Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nations community near the Kamloops Indian Residential School and at Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan represent further evidence of a dark chapter in Canada`s colonial past.

Residential schools were created to force the assimilation of over 150 000 Indigenous children into colonial society. The churches had built schools for Indigenous children starting in the mid 1600s. The federal residential school system began around 1883.  Children were apprehended by government officials, forcibly removed from their homes and taken to residential schools. The schools were often located far from their families, which resulted in severed ties from their families and communities.  Sadly, instances of abuse occurred in these government and church run schools.  

As a society, we must recognize the tragic legacy of residential schools and colonialism that persists to this day. Beyond recognition, however, education has an important role to raise awareness of the impact of residential schools. It is incumbent upon Canadians to learn from the past and respond to the Calls to Action in order to promote healing and reconciliation.

Indigenous children of residential schools photo

Educational Resource Supports

The following resource supports are available for teachers, students, and all Manitobans:

Resources for Teachers:

The following resources are intended to guide teachers learning about residential schools, to support an understanding of residential schools, and to help guide their teaching. These resources support Senior Years as well as Early and Middle Years educators. Always preview websites, videos, and books when showing content to students.

Grades K-4 children’s books about residential schools

Grades 5-8 children’s books about residential schools

Novels that may be available in your school or local library for grade to read about students’ experiences at residential schools:

  • Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton (2010) – Olemaun’s experience while attending Residential School
  • A Stranger at Home by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton (2011) – Olemaun's experience after attending Residential School
  • My Name is Seepeetza by Shirley Sterling (1992) – one year of journal entries while attending Residential School

Information books for children to learn about residential schools and truth and reconciliation:





  • 48 books by Indigenous writers to read to understand residential schools CBC David A. Robertson
  • Truth and Reconciliation in Canadian Schools by Pamela Rose Toulouse (2018)
  • Achieving Aboriginal Student Success by Pamela Rose Toulouse (2011)
  • Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese (2012)
  • Broken Circle by Theodore Fontaine (2010)
  • They Called me Number One by Bev Sellars (2013)
  • The Education of Augie Merasty by Joseph Auguste (2017)
  • Up Ghost River by Edmund Metatawabin (2014)
  • Sugar Falls by David Robertson (2012)
  • Call Me Indian by Fred Sasakamoose (2021)
  • A Knock on the Door by Phil Truth and TRC (2015)
  • A National Crime by John Milloy (2017)
  • Resistance and Renewal by Cella Halg-Brown (1988)
  • Picking up the Pieces by Carey Newman (2019)
  • The Sleeping Giant Awakens by David Macdonald (2019)
  • Residential Schools and Reconciliation by J.R. Miller (2017)
  • Truth and Reconciliation by Ronald Niezen (2017)
  • Orange Shirt Day September 30th by Orange Shirt Society (2020)
  • Beyond the Orange Shirt Story by Phyllis Webstad (2021)


The Scream by Kent Monkman. 2016

Truth & Reconciliation—The Path Forward (Part 1)

(length: 26:16)

Truth & Reconciliation—The Path Forward (Part 2)

(length: 23:52)