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Engaging with the TRC Calls to Action

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Residential Schools

The History

Over 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation children were taken from their families to attend residential schools in Canada between the 1830s and the 1990s.  Some never returned home. The TRC report concluded that these schools were "cultural genocide" and “a systematic, government-sponsored attempt to destroy Aboriginal cultures and languages and to assimilate Aboriginal peoples so that they no longer existed as distinct peoples.”  The damages inflicted by Residential Schools continue to this day.

Image credit: Sonya Romanovska/Unsplash

The report issued by our University's Standing Strong Task Force includes an appendix that outlines the "Life and Legacy of Egerton Ryerson" and his ties to the development of the residential school system in Canada.

The Legacy: Survivor Stories

Indian Day School, three views of the school exterior, Manitoulin Island Indian Reserve, ca. summer 1938

Residential School Survivor Stories has ~30 minute video recordings of Residential School Survivors describing their memories and the legacy of residential schools in their lives.

These oral histories are curated by the Legacy of Hope Foundation.




Image credit: Indian Day School, three views of the school exterior ca. 1938/ Library and Archives Canada

                Survivor's Speak TRC Report cover

"The Survivors Speak" TRC Report has transcripts of interviews with Survivors describing their memories and the legacy of residential schools in their lives. Transcripts are categorized.

Do your own research

This Intro to Archival research slide deck provides an overview of how to do primary source research, how to read archival descriptions, and where to get expert advice on campus. This Research Activity includes links to online primary source materials to interact with: Listen to a woman talk about her experience as a Shingwauk Residential School Survivor and look at images from St. John's Indian Residential School.  Included are a series of prompts to think about the legacy of residential schools.

The Library & Archives Canada guide Conducting Research on Residential Schools is designed help researchers navigate the records of the Indian and Inuit Affairs Program, where the bulk of the records related to Residential Schools are located, in Record Group (RG) 10. 

Image credits

Curtis - Navaho child, via Wikimedia Commons
Noatak Child, via Wikimedia Commons 
Eskimo child wearing fur parka, Alaska, between 1898 and 1908, via Wikimedia 
Chanie Wenjack by Papa Wenjack, via Wikimedia Commons