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Imagine (page 3)

We Were Children
The profound impact of the Canadian government residential school system conveyed through the eyes of two children. (2 minute trailer)
This video is available through the BCTF library.   

Imagine (See resource related links ImagineAudio.mp3)
Sylvia Smith, founder of Project of Heart, reads Imagine (MP3 format)

Canada’s dark secret is finally out in the open
What happened in residential schools amounts to nothing short of… (2 minute video)

A moving story about the practice of removing native children from their villages and sending them to residential school. (6 minute trailer)
This video is available through the BCTF library.

BC Indian Residential Schools (page 5)

A video clip following the important work done by Charlene Bearhead through the Project of Heart (17 minutes)

They Came for the Children
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada published this history as a part of its mandate to educate the Canadian public about residential schools and their place in Canadian History.  For the child taken and the parent left behind, the commission encourages all Canadians to read this history, to understand the legacy of the schools , and to participate in the work of reconciliation.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission documents (TRC School posters and ThemePosters.pdf*)
Printable fact sheets about each of the residential schools in BC, as well as posters on themes including church apologies, health, and work in residential schools.  

8th Fire 500 years in 2 minutes – Wab Kinew 

Timeline History of Aboriginal Peoples in British Columbia (TimelineHistory.pdf*)
Selected times and events important in the history of Aboriginal peoples in BC.

Chronologie de l'histoire des peuples autochtones en Colombie-Britannique (TimelineHistoryFR.pdf*)
Dates choisies et événements importants dans l'histoire des peuples autochtones.

Project of Heart Opens Hearts and Minds (page 7)

Project of Heart B.C.website

BCTF Aboriginal Education workshops



  • Breaking the Silence (BreakingTheSilence.pdf*)
  • Indian Residential School Timeline class activity (IRS_TimelineActivity.pdf*)

Visual Aids

Duncan Campbell Scott: Architect of the Indian Residential School system (page 9)

Peter Bryce and Duncan Campbell Scott: The road not taken on residential schools

The Troubling Legacy of Duncan Campbell Scott   

Shocking revelations on the medical experiments carried out on children
in Indian Residential schools

Indian Residential School propaganda video from 1955 (2.5 minute video)

Residential Schools, With the Words and Images of Survivors
By award-winning author and residential school survivor Larry Loyie (Cree) with Wayne K. Spear (Mohawk) and Constance Brissenden. A highly praised, accessible national history based on 21 years of research. Includes a map of schools, key dates, index, glossary of terms, as well as the memories of more than 65 national survivors and 125 images. Grades 7 and up; full-colour, 112 pages. "Highly Recommended" -- CM Magazine; "Essential Reading" -- Canadian Children's Book Centre. Available as an iBook in February 2016.

Peter Henderson Bryce: The doctor
who blew the whistle on a national crime (page 11)

Peter Bryce Report
The published story from medical inspector Peter Bryce who spoke out on the terrible conditions across the country in residential schools. 

First Nations Children and Family Caring Society
Dr. Bryce stood up for First Nations, Métis and Inuit children even when it was a hard thing to do because other people criticized him. He knew what was right, and in a peaceful and respectful way kept on trying to help the children. We want others to follow his example by having the courage to stand up for the right thing and help this generation of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children and youth have the same chance to succeed as other children and youth in Canada.

Peter Henderson Bryce Award

Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce: A Story of Courage

Finding Heart (15-minute video)
This short documentary celebrates the courage of Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce, Canada’s first medical health officer, who exposed the appalling health conditions and the eOriginal historical documents: Kamloops residential school Christmas letter Return of Death of an Indiandemic of TB afflicting children in residential schools. Narrated by his great-grandson Andy Bryce, the film also focuses on a class of Grade 8 students in Victoria and the central lessons they learned from studying this hidden chapter of our history.

Teaching Truth in the Classrooms
Canadian Youth Address the Legacy of Indian Residential Schools. (Video 9 minutes along with a brief article)

5 shameful truths we now know about Canada's residential school history

Gladys we never knew: One child, among, thousands, who didn't survive residential school (page 15)

Original historical documents: 

  • Kamloops residential school Christmas letter (ChristmasLetter.jpg*)
  • Return of Death of an Indian (ReturnOfDeathCertificate.jpg*)

New documents may shed light on residential school deaths – Unmarked graves Chilliwack, BC (2 minute video clip and article)

The Eyes of Children – Christmas at a residential school (30 minute video)

Residential Wreck
An amazing song written by Harmony Parent and April Water’s Grade 4 and 5 class dedicated  to Elaine McIntosh, a residential school survivor.  A song with video to inspire all ages.  (7 minutes) 

Muffins for Granny
The sad history of the Canadian government's residential school program has had a profound effect on First Nations peoples across the country. This is a raw and honest documentary about a difficult chapter in Canadian history - a chapter that, for some, is not over. (5 minute trailer)

Childhood Marked by Humiliation and Shame (page 17)

Kuper Island: Returning to the Healing Circle
Former students of the Kuper Island Indian Residential School, whose minds, bodies and spirits bear the scars of systematic abuse, speak out in an effort to end the code of silence. (43 minutes)
This video is also available in the BCTF library.

Penelakut:  Returning to the Healing Circle 
Twenty-five years after the production of the award-wining documentary “Kuper Island”, Gumboot, in collaboration with Gamut Productions, looks at the advances and challenges faced by this Island community.

Why Don’t You People Just Get Over It (6-minute video)

Canadians were in denial about residential school truths (page 19)

Harper in denial at G20: "We have no history of colonialism"

Official Denial, watch the second half of the 10-minute video (after the 5:40 marker)

Phil Fontaine interview with CBCs Barbara Frum, October 30, 1990      

Willy Blackwater interview in The Toronto Star on day of Harper's apology

Scapegoating the Indian residential school (ScapegoatingAlbertaReport.pdf*) 
Alberta Report, January 26, 1998
This article from the right-wing Alberta Report (a magazine which is no longer in circulation) provides an excellent example of bias and denial, despite the federal government's acknowledgement of the facts regarding residential schooling.

Professors condemn colleagues' TRC editorial 'Retrograde'
Winnipeg Free Press, June 6, 2015
Less than a week after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its report on residential schools in Canada, a group of more than 50 University of Manitoba professors are denouncing a pair of their former colleagues who claimed the report exaggerated reality.

Students create art from painful truth of residential schools (page 21)

“Where the Blood Mixes” is set in Lytton, site of St. George’s Indian Residential School. This play offers an excellent opportunity for high school students to explore the history and intergenerational impacts of Indian Residential Schools through drama. 
Where the Blood Mixes by Kevin Loring, publisher PDF of teacher guide.

Ledger Art (LedgerArt.pdf)
Ledger Art is a form of visual storytelling widely used by the Plains Indians in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  This art form combines the beauty of First Nations art as a means of documenting and retaining memory of traditional practices, stories and ways of life of the First Peoples of North American against the starkly contrasting ledgers and documents of the colonizers as this was a readily available medium upon which to paint. In recent years teachers and other art educators have adapted ledger art to focus on stories of Indian Residential School survivors and their experiences, as well as messages of cultural pride and revitalization, painted and drawn on the shocking documents from the Indian Residential School system. Sample art and templates are included.

From the Heart - a journey of reconciliation
Over the summer of 2013, a group of over one hundred community members from 16 to 88 years old took part in an unconventional theatre production in Victoria BC. From the Heart: enter into the journey of reconciliation was performed in a beautiful 14,000 sq. ft. indoor labyrinth made from salvaged doors and windows, trees, and hundreds of metres of fabric, all lit by paper lantern lights. In the alcoves and chambers of the labyrinth, the audience encountered songs, scenes, and shadow theatre performances created by our ensemble of non-Indigenous Canadians to tell the transformative stories that have deepened our understanding about the lived experience of Indigenous peoples in Canada. We created the show to encourage dialogue about what it might mean for non-Indigenous people to take responsibility for learning more about our own history as a first step toward standing in solidarity with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people. 

After the Prime Minister's apology, calls for action (page 23)

Canada's apology                                 
The Canadian government's official apology to residential school survivors. (10-minute video)

Hansard transcript of the federal government's apology to residential school survivors, and responses from Opposition and First Nations leaders

Chris Bose Apology redux   
One Aboriginal artist's satirical response to the apology. (2-minute video)

News report                         
Testimony given by survivors of the Port Alberni Residential School during the official visit by the TRC commissioners (2 minutes)

Resistance and resilience (page 25)

Film maker Lisa Jackson explores resistance by children and parents to the Indian Residential School injustices (6-minute video)

Ways to Make a Difference
Campaigns to make a difference for First Nations children and their families.  

Reconciliation & The Way Forward  
Aboriginal Healing Foundation – Collected Essays & Personal Reflections

Commemoration Canoe on a Journey to Justice (page 26)

Teaching about residential school K–7 (TeachingAboutResidentialSchools.pdf*)
Sample of books  to teach about residential school K–7.

Strong Nations Resources for Residential Schools - Books for kids 

Responding through Art (RespondingThroughArt.pdf*)
Inspired by Tom Phillip's artwork in his book A Humument, this art activity allows students to respond creatively. Sample template and art included.

Thousands attend Truth and Reconciliation National Event (page 29)

Educating Our Youth, Vancouver  (4-minute video)   
More than 5,000 students participated in Education Day at the TRC National Event in Vancouver. They came away with a new awareness about our shared history, including a deeper understanding of some of their relatives who had been to residential schools.

Residential Schools Education Day in Calling Lake 

Landmark TRC report points the way forward (page 31)

Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future
In over 350 meticulously-documented pages, the Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada offers a compelling narrative about the Commission’s activities, the history of residential schools, their legacy, and the challenge of reconciliation. It also includes 94 Calls to Action and 200 additional pages of oral history from survivors across the country. When published in full, the report is expected to span six volumes.

Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples
The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) was a Canadian Royal Commission established in 1991 to address many issues of Aboriginal status that had come to light with recent events such as the Oka Crisis and the Meech Lake Accord. The commission culminated in a final report of 4000 pages, published in 1996. The original report set out a 20-year agenda for implementing changes.      

Letter sent by Phil Fontaine, Past National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, to James Anaya, UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Rights (PhilFontaineLetter.pdf*)
Sent October 2013.

Blanket Exercise  (3 minutes video clip)    

Blanket Exercise (for Grades 4–12)
This one hour participatory workshop developed by Kairos is now available through the BC Teachers’ Federation. Blankets arranged on the floor represent land and participants are invited to step into the roles of First Nations, Inuit and later Métis peoples. The workshop helps people to understand how the colonization of this land impacts those who were here long before settlers arrived. It engages people's minds and hearts in understanding why the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples is often broken and how we can take action together. Go to BCTF.ca to book workshop.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action Report

Discovery at Kamloops Residential School, Murray Sinclair statement (10 minute video)

Students and Teachers Create "Heart Gardens" for Survivors (page 33)

Heart Gardens Booklet (2015HeartGardenBooklet.pdf*)
A sampling of the beautiful hearts that were sent from Byrne Creek Secondary students and teachers for the closing ceremony in Ottawa in June.

Where to from Here? (page 34)

Overcoming History - Education: Cause and Solution by Justice Murray Sinclair (OvercomingHistory.pdf*)

Strong Nations Resources for Residential Schools

A  beautiful song that gives much hope for reconciliation, written and performed by students from Pierre Elliot Trudeau Elementary School.

International Students: First Peoples courses open eyes and minds
from BCTF Teacher Magazine, Nov./Dec. 2015, page 27

Indian Horse
A beautiful novel by Ojibway writer, Richard Wagamese.
Saul Indian Horse is in trouble, and there seems to be only one way out. As he journeys back through his life as a northern Ojibway, from the horrors of residential school to his triumphs on the hockey rink, he must question everything he knows. In Indian Horse, author Richard Wagamese has crafted a wise and magical novel about love, family and the power of spirit.


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