For a period of more than 150 years, First Nations, Inuits and Métis children were taken from their families and communities to attend schools often far from their homes. The aim of residential schools was the systematic and deliberate destruction of Indigenous culture, language and people. During this dark period of Canada's history, more than 150,000 children attended what were known then as the Indian residential schools.
Many never returned home.
Residential school survivors and Indigenous communities have long carried the pain and grief from firsthand knowledge of what happened to their children.
As more unmarked graves are uncovered at residential school sites across the country, the Commission encourages everyone in Canada to stand together in solidarity with Indigenous peoples, and to learn the truth about what happened.
The trauma of residential schools, and of the racist colonial system that created them, continues to impact Indigenous people and communities to this day. We must all strive to understand how our past has shaped our present, and work to end the ongoing systemic racism, discrimination and inequality faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada at all levels of society.
Lost But Not Forgotten
- 215 unmarked graves
Shuswap First Nation, former site of Kamloops Residential School, Kamloops, British Columbia
- 761 unmarked graves
Ktunaxa First Nation, former site of Marieval Residential School, Cowessess, Saskatchewan
- 182 unmarked graves
Ktunaxa First Nation, former site of the St. Eugene's Mission School, Lower Kootenay, Cranbrook, British Columbia
- 160 unmarked graves
Penelakut First Nation, former site of the Kuper Island Indian Industrial School, Penelakut Island, British Columbia
Support is available for anyone affected by the lingering effects of residential schools, and those who are triggered by the latest reports. The Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-721-0066.
A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.
Hope for Wellness 24/7 Help Line for all Indigenous peoples across
Canada: 1-855-242-3310 and chat support, hopeforwellness.ca. Available in English and French. On request, phone support is also available in Cree, Ojibway, or Inuktitut.
- They Came for the Children
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
- The National Student Memorial Register
- Canada's Residential Schools: Missing Children and Unmarked Burials [PDF]
The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, volume 4
- Indigenous Canada
University of Alberta
Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Faculty of Native Studies exploring Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada.
- Intergenerational Trauma: Residential Schools
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