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
- Shuswap First Nation
Former site of Kamloops Residential School, Kamloops, British Columbia
- Ktunaxa First Nation
Former site of Marieval Residential School, Cowessess, Saskatchewan
- Ktunaxa First Nation
Former site of the St. Eugene's Mission School, Lower Kootenay, Cranbrook, British Columbia
- Penelakut First Nation
Former site of the Kuper Island Indian Industrial School, Penelakut Island, British Columbia
- Tk'emlups te Secwépemc First Nation (also referred to as the Sioux Valley Dakota First Nation)
Former site of the Brandon Indian Residential School, Brandon, Manitoba
- Muscowequan First Nation
Former site of the Muscowequan Indian Residential School, Muscowequan, Saskatchewan
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.
- CHRC Statement - We all have a responsibility for reconciliation
- CHRC Statement - Investigate the grounds of every residential school in Canada
- 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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