Official Statements of Apologies
Compiled official statements from governmental and religious bodies through the years acknowledging their role in the residential school system and their offers of apology and healing to the survivors for the hurt inflicted upon them and their communities.
These educational websites are designed for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal audiences to understand the history of the residential school system, the impact it had on Aboriginals, and to help bring about healing and understanding between the two groups.
Articles, Reports, and Publications
Below is a selection of research publications that examine the history and impact of residential schools on the Aboriginal population of Canada. For more information on each publication, hover your mouse over the document for a brief description.
- A Brief Report of The Federal Government Of Canada’s Residential School System For Inuit
- Aboriginal People, Resilience And The Residential School Legacy
- “We Were So Far Away…” : The Inuit Experience Of Residential School
- Conceptualizing and Measuring Historical Trauma Among American Indian People
- Historic Trauma and Aboriginal Healing
- Historical Trauma, Race-based Trauma and Resilience Of Indigenous Peoples: A Literature Review
- Mapping the Healing Journey
- Métis History And Experience And Residential Schools In Canada
- Mental Health Profiles For A Sample Of B.C. Aboriginal Survivors Of The Residential School System
- The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement’s Common Experience Payment And Healing
- The Residential School Experience: Syndrome Or Historic Trauma?
- The Role of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police During the Indian Residential School System
- They Came for the Children
Overview of Residential School & Historic Trauma Survivor Resources
The Indian residential school system is a shameful chapter in Canada's history. The school system set up by the Canadian government and administered by different churches removed Aboriginal children from their family and community and assimilate them into the dominant culture. Forbidden to speak their languages and removed from the traditions and customs of their ancestors, the goal was to "kill the Indian in the child." Widespread abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological) was also inflicted on many of the students.
The schools operated in the 1800s and lasted right up until 1996 when the final school closed down. In the years after the schools were shut down, the Canadian government and the church organizations took steps to acknowledge their roles in this situation, issuing official apologies, participating in healing, setting up compensation for survivors of this historic trauma, and telling the full truth about what took place in the halls of these schools. This LibGuide page provides resources for survivors and the wider Canadian population for understanding the full extent of the residential school system and the opportunities for healing to happen.
Support From Health Canada
If you attended an Indian Residential School, you and your family may be eligible to receive health support services, such as:
- Cultural Support - Elders for traditional healings, ceremonies or teachings
- Emotional Support - Resolution Health Support Workers to listen, talk and provide support
- Professional Counselling - A Psychologist or Social Worker for individual or family counselling
- Transportation - Assistance with transportation may be offered when professional counselling and cultural support services are not locally available
For immediate emotional assistance you can reach the
National Crisis Line 24-hours a day, 7 days a week at
To access health support services and for more information, please call the toll-free line for your province/territory. Or visit our Health Canada's website. You can also check out the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program.
Organizations & Support Groups
These organizations and support groups provide information and resources to help those who went through the residential school systems and provides information about compensation and settlements for survivors.
A Lost Heritage: Canada's Residential Schools
"In 1928, a government official predicted Canada would end its "Indian problem" within two generations. Church-run, government-funded residential schools for native children were supposed to prepare them for life in white society. But the aims of assimilation meant devastation for those who were subjected to physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Decades later, aboriginal people began to share their stories and demand acknowledgement of — and compensation for — their stolen childhoods."
For a complete collection of archival news clips on residential schools, please visit the CBC Digital Archives website.
Our Spirits Don’t Speak English: Indian Boarding School
“Our Spirits Don’t Speak English: Indian Boarding School,” a documentary that examines an educational system that was designed to destroy Indian culture and tribal unity. When it began in 1879, the philosophy of the Indian boarding school system was “to kill the Indian and save the man,” the mission statement of Captain Richard Henry Pratt, founder and superintendent of Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania until 1904.
More info about the film available at their official website.
Brian Nootchtai: Inter-Generational Effects of Residential School
"The Union of Ontario Indians received funding through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada to develop tools and erect a monument to pay tribute to Anishinabek Nation members who attended Indian Residential School. The project is entitled "Honouring Our Children, Families, and Communities Affected by Indian Residential Schools".
As part of the project, a series of five educational videos were created. In this video Brian Nootchtai, Mental Health Case Worker at the N'Mninoeyaa Aboriginal Health Access Centre in Cutler, Ontario, discusses the inter-generational effects of Residential School, and notes that validating the residential school experience - as individuals, families and communities is an important step to healing."
More information on the project can be found at the Anishinabek Nation website.
To see the rest of their educational videos, please visit their YouTube playlist.
Inside Story Americas : Revisiting a dark chapter in Canada's history
"The country's Indian residential schools have long been a source of shame, but will a new report shed new light on them? To discuss this, Inside Story Americas is joined by guests: Kimberly Murray, the executive director of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee of Canada; Cindy Blackstock, the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada; and Frank Wallace, who represents the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and attended a residential school himself."
Originally broadcast for Al-Jazeera English on February 21, 2013.
Project Of Heart
"Story about remembering the lost children of residential schools in Canada."
Clip 1 Healing The Hurt And Shame Of Native Residential Schools
"This dynamic and heartfelt video documents the devastating effects of the Native Canadian and Native American Boarding Schools that dramatically shattered aboriginal cultures, children, families and communities throughout North America. Viewers join Native American participants from Canada and the United States, during a four-day, culturally-based, healing process for understanding and recovering from this type of traumatic experience. For information on how to obtain a copy of the Healing the Hurts Video please visit http://4worlds.org/bookstore or call 1-604-542-8991"
Murray Sinclair: Truth & Reconciliation
"Justice Murray Sinclair on the progress of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and why it continues to matter to all Canadians."
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Selected Titles From The BearPaw Library
The following selected titles are available to borrow at our physical library.