Residential Schools

Explore these resources to learn more about the impact of Canada's residential school system on survivors, families and Canadian society.

Picking up the pieces : residential school memories and the making of the Witness Blanket

Newman, Carey, 1975- author
2019

Tells the story of the making of the Witness Blanket, a living work of art. It includes hundreds of items collected from residential schools across Canada, everything from bricks, photos and letters to hockey skates, dolls and braids. Every object tells a story.

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Did you see us? : reunion, remembrance, and reclamation at an urban Indian residential school

Did you see us? : reunion, remembrance, and reclamation at an urban Indian residential school

2021

"The Assiniboia school is unique within Canada’s Indian Residential School system. It was the first residential high school in Manitoba and one of the only residential schools in Canada to be located in a large urban setting. Operating between 1958 and 1973 in a period when the residential school system was in decline, it produced several future leaders, artists, educators, knowledge keepers, and other notable figures. It was in many ways an experiment within the broader destructive framework of Canadian residential schools. Stitching together memories of arrival at, day-to-day life within, and departure from the school with a socio-historical reconstruction of the school and its position in both Winnipeg and the larger residential school system, Did You See Us? offers a glimpse of Assiniboia that is not available in the archival records. It connects readers with a specific residential school and illustrates that residential schools were often complex spaces where forced assimilation and Indigenous resilience co-existed. These recollections of Assiniboia at times diverge, but together exhibit Survivor resilience and the strength of the relationships that bond them to this day. The volume captures the troubled history of residential schools. At the same time, it invites the reader to join in a reunion of sorts, entered into through memories and images of students, staff, and neighbours. It is a gathering of diverse knowledges juxtaposed to communicate the complexity of the residential school experience."-- Provided by publisher.

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The education of Augie Merasty : a residential school memoir

The education of Augie Merasty : a residential school memoir

Merasty, Joseph Auguste, author
2015

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.

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From Bear Rock Mountain : the life and times of a Dene residential school survivor

From Bear Rock Mountain : the life and times of a Dene residential school survivor

Mountain, Antoine, 1949- author.
2019

"In this poetic, poignant memoir, Dene artist and social activist Antoine Mountain paints an unforgettable picture of his journey from residential school to art school--and his path to healing. In 1949, Antoine Mountain was born on the land near Radelie Koe, Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories. At the tender age of seven, he was stolen away from his home and sent to a residential school--run by the Roman Catholic Church in collusion with the Government of Canada--three hundred kilometres away. Over the next twelve years, the three residential schools Mountain was forced to attend systematically worked to erase his language and culture, the very roots of his identity. While reconnecting to that which had been taken from him, he had a disturbing and painful revelation of the bitter depths of colonialism and its legacy of cultural genocide. Canada has its own holocaust, Mountain argues. As a celebrated artist and social activist today, Mountain shares this moving, personal story of healing and the reclamation of his Dene identity."-- Provided by publisher.

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The good, the bad and the innocent : the tragic reality behind residential schools, an Albert Etzerza story

The good, the bad and the innocent : the tragic reality behind residential schools, an Albert Etzerza story

Etzerza, Albert, author
2020

"A system that was made to help and show love was not only the opposite, but no human should have to go through what he did. He stood up and others followed. He was the first Native to take the Church and government to court for the schools."-- Back cover.

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A long journey : residential schools in Labrador and Newfoundland

A long journey : residential schools in Labrador and Newfoundland

Procter, Andrea H., 1974- author
2020

"Left out of the national apology and reconciliation process that was begun 2008, survivors of residential schools in Labrador and Newfoundland received a formal apology from the Canadian government in 2017, finally bringing them into the circle of residential school survivors across Canada. For years, the story of residential schools has been told by the authorities who ran them, and their voices have dominated the discussion. A Long Journey attempts to redress this imbalance by presenting the accounts of former students as well as examining extensive government, community, and school archives in order to tell the story of these institutions from a range of perspectives. The book examines the history of boarding schools in Labrador and St. Anthony and looks forward to a future in which reconciliation between all Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians becomes a reality."-- Provided by publisher.

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My decade at Old Sun, my lifetime of hell

My decade at Old Sun, my lifetime of hell

Bear Chief, Arthur, 1942- author
2016


Nishga

Nishga

Abel, Jordan, 1985- author
2020

An autobiographical meditation that attempts to address the complicated legacies of Canada's residential school system and contemporary Indigenous existence.

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St. Michael's Residential School : lament & legacy

St. Michael's Residential School : lament & legacy

Dyson, Nancy 1948-, author
2021

"In 1970, the authors, Nancy Dyson and Dan Rubenstein, were hired as childcare workers at the Alert Bay Student Residence (formerly St. Michael's Indian Residential School) on northern Vancouver Island. Shocked when Indigenous children were forcibly taken from their families, punished for speaking their native language, fed substandard food and severely disciplined for minor offences, Dan and Nancy questioned the way the school was run with its underlying missionary philosophy. When a delegation from the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs visited St. Michael's, the couple presented a long list of concerns, which were ignored. The next day they were dismissed by the administrator of the school. Some years later, in 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Reports were released. The raw grief and anger of residential school survivors were palpable and the authors' troubling memories of St. Michael's resurfaced. Dan called Reconciliation Canada, and Chief Dr. Robert Joseph encouraged the couple to share their story with today's Canadians. St. Michael's Residential School: Lament and Legacy is a moving narrative - one of the few told by caregivers who experienced on a daily basis the degradation of Indigenous children. Their account will help to ensure that what went on in the Residential Schools is neither forgotten nor denied."-- Amazon.

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