MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER:
Now that you know, what will you do?
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission detailed the unthinkable truth and crimes committed at residential schools across Canada. Six years have passed since the 94 Calls to Action were released. Indigenous communities continue to face inequality and disparities, compared to the rest of Canada. This past year, we have all been deeply disturbed by the physical evidence come to light through the discovery of unmarked graves at former school sites.
The list of resources below will help deepen your understanding of what happened, and what continues to happen, so that you are equipped to act and make change. It is by no means exhaustive. Indigenous Peoples in Canada are diverse, and so are Indigenous-led organizations, businesses and the resources, products and services that they offer. We urge you to continue to do your own research, and explore.
We have also put together five simple ways to get started in the reconciliation process.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, its findings, and Calls to Action:
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is a place of learning and dialogue where the truths of the residential school experience are honoured and kept safe for future generations. The collection of statements, documents and other materials that were compiled through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is now stewarded by the NCTR. Some of their records are publicly available online.
Find the 94 Calls to Action, along with dozens of other documents from the TRC, including seven volumes that summarize the history and origins of residential schools (part 1 and part 2), the residential school experiences by First Nations, Métis and Inuit, missing children and unmarked burials, the legacy of schools, reconciliation, and other government reports and related legislation.
A Knock on the Door: The Essential History of Residential Schools from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada took seven volumes of information from TRC inquiry and condensed it into a single compelling book.
For an understanding of the ongoing issues facing Indigenous women in Canada, read Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The National Inquiry looked into and reported on the systemic causes of all forms of violence against Indigenous women and girls, including sexual violence. It examined underlying social, economic, cultural, institutional, and historical causes that contribute to the ongoing violence and particular vulnerabilities of Indigenous women and girls in Canada. The Final Report is comprised of the truths of more than 2,380 family members, survivors of violence, experts and Knowledge Keepers shared over two years of cross-country public hearings and evidence gathering. It delivers 231 individual Calls for Justice directed at governments, institutions, social service providers, industries and all Canadians.
Listen to Qajaq Robinson, a commissioner of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, talk about the weight of silence and the cost of inaction.
Former senator and Truth and Reconciliation Commission Chair Murray Sinclair discusses how far Canada has come on reconciliation, and how much more we have to do in this episode of Unreserved.
Residential Schools, Their Legacy, and Ongoing Impact
This website is a counterpart to Where are the Children? Healing the impacts of the Residential Schools, a touring exhibition that explores the history and impacts of Canada’s Residential School System through Survivor stories, archival photographs, and documents, curated by Iroquois artist Jeff Thomas.
They Came For the Children will help Canadians understand the legacy of the schools, and to participate in the work of reconciliation.
Major events of the era of colonization and residential schools are shown in the timeline 100 Years of Loss.
The National Film Board has a selection of films by Indigenous filmmakers and allies about the tragic impact of residential schools in Canada.
APTN's News Archives shares news items related to residential schools and their impact.
Learn about Phyllis Webstad’s story and why September 30th is referred to as Orange Shirt Day.
Wawahte is a documentary free to be screened for elementary and high school students that shares stories from Survivors.
The Journey Ahead is a report on the progress since the Government of Canada's apology to former students of Residential Schools.
The Yellowhead Institute is a First Nation-led research centre. Privileging First Nation philosophy and rooted in community networks, Yellowhead is focused on policies related to land and governance. The Institute offers critical and accessible resources for communities in their pursuit of self-determination. It also aims to foster education and dialogue on First Nation governance across fields of study, between the University and the wider community, and among Indigenous peoples and Canadians. Browse their Resources for Truth and Restitution.
The National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy is a tool for assisting community service providers, policymakers, and governments in working together to reduce the rate of suicide among Inuit to a rate that is equal to or below the rate for Canada as a whole.
To see the true picture of the First Nations housing crisis, look to Sioux Lookout, Tanya Talaga, The Globe & Mail
While there are housing issues shared by Indigenous communities, each faces unique challenges in developing, constructing, and maintaining an adequate housing supply. Racialized violence disproportionately affects Indigenous women and girls in Canada, with housing issues being a contributing factor to the lack of safety and security they may feel. The Native Women's Association of Canada details their Housing Strategy for engaging a national framework.
Truth and Reconciliation, Kevin Lamoureux, TEDxUniversityofWinnipeg
Indigenous Cultures and History
To start learning more about Indigenous Peoples in Canada, explore the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada.
Dive deeper into Canada's history from an Indigenous perspective. RavenReads has a list of five Canadian history books by Indigenous authors, covering residential schools, Canada's First People, and everything in between. If you want to keep the literature coming to your door, RavenReads also has a seasonal subscription box.
To learn about Inuit connections to the land and sea, our legends, our histories, and our relationship with the environment and all living things within it, watch the Inuit Nunangat Taimannganit series. This storytelling project by Inuit Tapiriit Kanamatami tells the story of Inuit Nunangat (the Inuit homeland in Canada) from time immemorial (taimannganit).
For a wealth of Inuit-related content, browse Isuma, an independent Inuit language production and distribution company.
Over the past fifty years, Indigenous Peoples have taken back control of how they are represented to the world by creating their own Cultural and Heritage Interpretation Centres. The U’mista Cultural Centre in Ucluelet, BC, offers an amazing Virtual Tour, as does the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre's 360° look at their facility in Whistler, BC.
Learn about the history and culture of the Metis Nation through the extensive Oral History Resources from The Gabriel Dumont Institute’s Virtual Museum.
The Inuvialuit Digital Library houses multimedia collections, exhibits, and language and culture resources.
The Importance of Language
Learn about the diversity of Indigenous Languages in Canada.
Why Indigenous languages matter, Wade Davis, Canadian Geographic
Fear of loss of Inuit Language was a central factor in Inuit leaders’ decision to negotiate a land claim with the Canadian government. This summary report is intended to review some of the history and key data, and assess prospects for the Inuit language in Nunavut.
For the Readers Out There
Browse a selection of compiled reading lists. If you have a favourite book by an Indigenous author, get it added to this list by suggesting it.
This reading list by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada shares a selection of the growing number of books that have been written about the history and legacy of residential schools in Canada.
Explore Inhabit Media, an Inuit-owned, independent publishing company in the Canadian Arctic. Inhabit Media promotes and preserves the stories, knowledge, and talent of the Arctic. Authors, storytellers, and artists bring traditional knowledge to life in a way that is accessible to readers both familiar and unfamiliar with Inuit culture and traditions. Their books are a great way for kids (and adults) to celebrate Inuit stories, and learn about Inuit culture.
Educational Resources for Teachers and Lifelong Learners
The Assembly of First Nations' It's Our Time Educational Toolkit consists of 22 learning modules that have been designed to enhance the understanding of important First Nations topics to ensure both students and teachers are learning in and out of the classroom.
The Moose Hide Campaign Learning Platform supports teachers, offers guidance, provides a learning pathway, sample lessons, and videos.
The National Film Board’s Educational Playlist on Indigenous Voices and Reconciliation offers films and videos for many age groups.
Indspire’s Climbing the Mountain is a workshop that aims to create healthy educational spaces and workplaces rooted in the principles of reconciliation. This workshop will empower educators to engage the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action and practice reconciliation in their educational communities.
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation website also houses educational and teacher resources, in addition to being a good place to access information about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Wanuskewin Heritage Park in Saskatchewan advances the understanding and appreciation of the evolving cultures of the Northern Plains Indigenous Peoples, and offers paid access to an Online Learning Series with modules targeted for pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12.
Historica Canada has produced an Indigenous Perspectives Education Guide. This guide is designed to align with current Canadian curricula, and has been produced for use in middle and high school history and social science classrooms. The guide is therefore not comprehensive in its coverage, focusing primarily on the history that is taught in classrooms. Teachers may wish to address topics not covered in this guide to provide a more complete understanding of Indigenous worldviews.
The International Community and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Around the World
In 2007, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted by the General Assembly. The Declaration is a non-binding international instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples. It establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world and it elaborates on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms as they apply to the specific situation of indigenous peoples. After several years, Canadian lawmakers passed a law (Bill C-15) committing Canada to implement UNDRIP.
2019 was the International Year of Indigenous Languages, declared by UNESCO. Learn more about the objectives and outcomes.
Following the International Year of Indigenous Languages, UNESCO declared 2022-2032 the International Decade of Indigenous Languages to focus on and prioritize Indigenous language user's rights.