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Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) & Canada's Residential Schools

"For over a century, the central goals of Canada’s Aboriginal policy were to eliminate Aboriginal governments; ignore Aboriginal rights; terminate the Treaties; and, through a process of assimilation, cause Aboriginal peoples to cease to exist as distinct legal, social, cultural, religious, and racial entities in Canada. The establishment and operation of residential schools were a central element of this policy, which can best be described as “cultural genocide.”" (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future, p. 1) 

Canada's Residential Schools: Reports of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

The TRC Final Report contains several volumes, available online and in print at Concordia Library.

SUMMARY OF FINAL REPORT (2015). Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada 

SOMMAIRE DU RAPPORT FINAL (2015). Honorer la vérité, réconcilier pour l’avenir : sommaire du rapport final de la commission de vérité et réconciliation du Canada.

Canada. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Canada's Residential Schools: Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (7 Volumes)

 Canada. Commission de vérité et réconciliation du Canada. (2015). Pensionnats du Canada : rapport final de la Commission de vérité et réconciliation du Canada. (7 Volumes)

Table of Contents for the 7 volumes 

(Links below are for the individual print volumes available at Concordia Library, to access all the volumes online, use the links above)

Vol 1, pt. 1: Canada's Residential Schools: The History, Part 1 Origins to 1939   

Vol 1, pt. 2: Canada's Residential Schools: The History, Part 2 1939 to 2000

Vol 2: Canada's Residential Schools: The Inuit and Northern Experience

Vol 3: Canada's Residential Schools: The Metis Experience

Vol 4: Canada's Residential Schools: Missing Children and Unmarked Burials

Vol 5: Canada's Residential Schools: The Legacy

Vol 6: Canada's Residential Schools: Reconciliation

Calls to Action and other post-TRC reports

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action  (2015) 

In order to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission made 94 calls to action. 

What We Have Learned: Principles of Truth and Reconciliation (2015) - Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada 

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has developed a definition of reconciliation and a guiding set of principles for truth and reconciliation.

The Survivors Speak: A report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015)

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was mandated “to receive statements and documents from former students, their families, community and all other interested participants” and to recognize “the unique experiences” of all former students. Over 6,750 people have given recorded statements to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

A knock at the door: the essential history of residential schools from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada - Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, foreword by Phil Fontaine (2016) 

Universities Canada principles on Indigenous Education (2015) (PDF)

In response to the TRC’s calls to action Canada’s universities in collaboration with Indigenous communities authored 13 principles on Indigenous education recognizing the importance and need to open up its institutional and academic spaces in multiple ways recognizing ”the intellectual and [scientific Indigenous knowledge systems] is essential to building  mutual relationships grounded in trust and shared understanding.

The package of resources below has been developed to help member institutions respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action and bring to life the Principles on Indigenous Education. It includes examples of promising practices for reconciliation at Canadian universities, a guidance document with key considerations for putting in place such practices and links to existing resources.

The commitments constitute a living document, now titled Commitments to Truth and Reconciliation, that serves to update the Principles on Indigenous Education first adopted by Universities Canada members in 2015. The commitments seek to respond to the evolving context of truth and reconciliation in Canada and serve as a forward-looking document to guide and support the work of universities.

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba 

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) was created to preserve the memory of Canada’s Residential School system and legacy. The NCTR will be the permanent home for all statements, documents, and other materials gathered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).

Murder by decree: the crime of genocide in Canada: A counter report to the "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" (2016) - The International Tribunal for the Disappeared of Canada

CFLA-FCAB Truth and Reconciliation Report (2017) - The Committee on Indigenous Matters, Canadian Federation of Library Associations, exists to and work with Indigenous (First Nations, Metis and Inuit) people to address issues related to libraries, archives and cultural memory institutions; to promote initiatives in all types of libraries by advancing and implementing meaningful reconciliation as addressed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report and in the Calls to Action. 

Pre-2015 Reports

Canada. Prime Minister. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. Statement of Apology - to former students of Indian Residential Schools. (2013)

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: interim report (2012)

Commission de vérité et réconciliation du Canada: rapport intérimaire (2012)

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. They came for the children: Canada, Aboriginal peoples, and residential schools (2012)

Commission de vérité et réconciliation du Canada. Ils sont venus pour les enfants : le Canada, les peuples autochtones et les pensionnats (2012)

Conducting research on residential schools: a guide to the records of the Indian and Inuit Affairs Program and related resources at Library and Archives Canada (2012)

Map - Indian Residential Schools of Canada (2012)

The role of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police during the Indian Residential School System (2011)

For the child taken, for the parent left behind (2010)

Residential School literature review, 1987-1997 (1997)

"Suffer the little children": the Aboriginal residential school system 1830-1992 / Submitted to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples by J.S. Milloy (1996)

The circle game: shadows and substance in the Indian residential school experience in Canada / a report to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples; Roland D. Chrisjohn & Sherri L. Young (1994)

Residential Schools & the TRC

Abel, J. (2021). Nishga. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart. (print book)

Angel, J., Robinson, D., & Berthe, J. (2022). Fragments of truth: residential schools and the challenge of reconciliation in Canada. Duke University Press (print book)

Baxter, E. (2021). Aki-wayn-zih: a person as worthy as the Earth. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. (print book)

Bryce, P.H. (1922). The Story of National Crime: Being an Appeal for Justice to the Indians of Canada, The Wards of the Nation: Our Allies in the Revolutionary War: Our Borthers-in-Arms in the Great War. Ottawa: James Hope & Sons, Ltd.

Canadian Geographic Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada (2018). National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Metis Nation and Indspire. Volume 1. (print book)

Capitaine, B. & K. Vanthuyne (eds) (2017). Power through testimony: reframing residential schools in the age of reconciliation. vancouver: UBC Press. (print book)

Carleton, S. (2022). Lessons in legitimacy: colonialism, capitalism, and the rise of state schooling in British Columbia. Vancouver: UBC Press. (print book)

Carr-Stewart, S. (2019). Knowing the past, facing the future: Indigenous education in Canada. Vancouver: Purich Books. (print book)

Craft, A., & Regan, P. (Eds.) (2020). Pathways of reconciliation: Indigenous and settler approaches to implementing the TRC's calls to actionWinnipeg: University of Manitoba Press. (ebook)

Dumont, M. (author) Gray, R., Gros-Louis Monier, M. (Eds) (2010). Collection of life stories of the survivors of the Quebec Indian Residential Schools. Wendake: First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission. (print book)

Dyson, N. & Rubenstein, D.B. (2021). St. Michael's Residential School: lament and legacyVancouver: Ronsdale Press. (print book)

Facing History and Ourselves. (2019). Stolen Lives: The Indigenous Peoples of Canada and the Indian Residential Schools. (ebook)

Favel, F. (2022). Ashes and embers: Stories of the Delmas Indian Residential School. Saskatchewan: Miyawata Culture Association. (print book)

Florence, M. (2022). Righting Canada's wrongs: residential schools - the devesating impact on Canada's Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's findings and Calls for Action.  James Lorimer & Co Publishing. (print book)

Fox, B. (2020). Genocidal love: a life after residential school. Regina: University of Regina Press. (ebook)

George, S., Goldberg, J.Y., Belson, L., MacPhee, D., & Wilson, T. (2023). The fire still burns: life in and after residential school. Toronto: Purich Books. (print book)

Good, M. (2020). Five little Indians. Toronto: Harper Perennial. (print book) - fiction 

Griffith, J. (2019). Words have a past: the English language, colonialism, and the newspapers of Indian boarding schools. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. (print book)

Haig-Brown, C. Gottfriedson, G., & Fred, R. (2022). Tsqelmucwílc: the Kamloops Indian Residential School--resistance and a reckoningVancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press. (print book)

Hess, M. (2019). Going back home. Ontario: BookLand Press. (print book)

King, C.O. (2022). The boy from Buzwah: a life in Indian education. Regina: University of Regina Press. (print book)

Laugrand, F. & Oosten, J.G. (2019). Inuit, Oblate missionaries, and Grey Nuns in the Keewatin, 1865-1965. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press.(print book)

MacDonald, D.B. (2019). The sleeping giant awakens: genocide, Indian residential schools and the challenge of conciliation. (print book)

Manuel, V., & Patki, K., (2019). Honouring the strength of Indian women: plays, stories, poetry. University of Manitoba Press. (print book)

Mason, R. (2020). Spirit of the grassroots people: seeking justice for indigenous survivors of Canada's colonial education systemMontreal: McGill-Queen's Press. (print book)

McCallum, M.J.L. (2022). Nii Ndahlohke: boys' and girls' work at Mount Elgin Industrial School 1890-1915 Manitoba: Friesen Press. (print book)

Merasty, J. A. (2015). The education of Augie Merasty: a residential school memoir. Regina: University of Regina Press. (print book)

Miller, J. R. (2017). Residential schools and reconciliation: Canada confronts its history. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. (print book)

Milloy, J. S. (2017). A national crime: the Canadian government and the residential school system, 1879-1986. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press. (ebook)

Milward, D.L. (2022). Reconciliation & Indigenous justice: a search for ways forward. Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing. (print book)

Minton, S. (ed). (2021). Residential school and Indigenous Peoples: From genocide via education to the possibilities for processes of truth, restitution, reconciliation and reclamation. Routledge. 

Mountain, A. (2019). From Bear Rock Mountain: the life and times of a Dene residential school survivorVictoria, BC: Brindle & Glass. (ebook)

Montgomery, L.M. & Chip Colwell, J.S. (2019). Objects of survivance: a material history of the American Indian school experience. University Press of Colorado. (print book)

Newman, C. (2019). Picking up the pieces: residential school memories and the making of the Witness Blanket. Orca Book Publishers. (print book)

Niezen, R. (2017). Truth and indignation: Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools. Toronto:University of Toronto Press. (ebook)

O'Brien, M. (2021). Boarding and Australia's First Peoples: understanding how residential schooling shapes lives. Springer. (ebook)

Procter, A.H. & Lehman, E.J. (2020). A long journey: residential schools in Labrador and Newfoundland. St. John's: ISER Books (Print book)

Regan, P. (2010). Unsettling the settler within: Indian residential schools, truth telling, and reconciliation in Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press. (ebook) 

Reynaud, A. (2017). Emotions, remembering and feeling better: dealing with the Indian residential schoolds settlement agreement in CanadaBielefeld: Verlag. (print book) 

Sellars, B. (2013). They called me number one: secrets and survival at Indian residential school. Vancouver: Talon Books. (print book)

Starblanket, T. (2018). Suffer the little children: genocide, Indigenous children, and the Canadian state. Atlanta: Clarity Press. (print book)

Survivors of the Assiniboia Indian Residential School, Woolford, A.J., Fontaine, M. & Fontaine, T. (2021). Did you see us?: reunion, remembrance, and reclamation at an urban Indian residential school. University of Manitoba Press. (ebook & print book)

Turmel, T. (2020). Mnidoo bemaasing bemaadiziwin: reclaiming, reconnecting, and demystifying resiliency as life force energy for residential school survivors. Winnipeg: ARP Books. (print book)

Webstad, P. (2021). Beyond the orange shirt story: a collection of stories from family and friends of Phyllis Webstad before, during, and after their residential school experiencesVictoria, BC: Medicine Wheel Education. (print book)

Webstad, P., & Sorley, J. (Eds). (2020). Orange Shirt Day, September 30th. Victoria, BC: Medicine Wheel Education. (print book)

Wells, R.P. (2016). Wawahte: Indian residential schools. Victoria: Friesen Press. (print book)

Whitebean, W.S. (2019). Child-Targeted Assimilation An Oral History of Indian Day School Education in Kahnawà:ke. Thesis: Concordia University. (online)

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) - The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) is a place of learning and dialogue where the truths of Residential School Survivors, families and communities are honoured and kept safe for future generations. The NCTR educates Canadians on the profound injustices inflicted on First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation by the forced removal of children to attend residential schools and the widespread abuse suffered in those schools.

Settlers Take Action - Suggested steps for settlers to take action; additional recommended resources. 

The Residential School System: Indigenous Foundations - First Nations & Indigenous Studies UBC

In their Own Words - Residential school survivors talk about their experiences and the lasting impact on their lives (CBC)

Honour to Senator Murray Sinclair, dir. Alanis Obomsawin (2021, 29 min.), NFB streaming film.

Summary: "As the Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Senator Murray Sinclair was a key figure in raising global awareness of the atrocities of Canada’s residential school system. With determination, wisdom and kindness, Senator Sinclair remains steadfast in his belief that the path to actual reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people requires understanding and accepting often difficult truths about Canada’s past and present. Alanis Obomsawin shares the powerful speech the Senator gave when he accepted the WFM-Canada World Peace Award, interspersing the heartbreaking testimonies of former students imprisoned at residential schools." 

The impact of colonialism in Canada, dir. Matt LeMay (2016, 17 min), McIntyre streaming film. 

Residential Schools: Truth and Reconciliation in Canada (2015, 18 min), McIntryre streaming film.

In Jesus' name: Shattering the silence of St. Anne's Residential School (2017, 42 min), McIntyre streaming film.

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