September 30 of each year is dedicated to Orange Shirt Day. This day is used to honour the children who went to residential schools, create awareness of residential schools, and create dialogue about the lasting impact of the legacy of residential schools.
There are resources in many forms including films, books and podcasts which provide insight into the residential school experience, the intergenerational trauma that continues into the present day, and our responsibilities as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
These resources are not an exhaustive list, rather a starting point.
A list of films, videos, books, websites to learn more about the legacy of residential schools.
Videos and Films
- Phyllis' Story - Orange Shirt Day
- National Film Board Shorts - Residential Schools
- Legacy of Hope Foundation: Survivor Stories
- Residential Schools Canada: A Timeline
- Indian Horse (2017): Movie Trailer (Film Available on Netflix)
- We Were Children (2012) - Movie Trailer (Film Available with an Amazon Prime Subscription or or Rent on the NFB Website for $2.95 CAD)
- Murray Sinclair, Former Senator and Former Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission - Response to the 215 Unmarked Graves
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report - Calls to Action
- Pathways of Reconciliation: Indigenous and Settler Approaches to implementing the TRC’s Calls to Action - Edited by Aimee Craft and Paulette Regan
- Unsettling the Settler Within Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada by Paulette Regan
- A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879 to 1986 by John S. Milloy
- Voices from the Land: Indigenous Peoples Talk Language Revitalization
- Legacy of Hope: Roots and Hoots
- Seven Truths by Tanya Talaga - Available on Audible
Resources and activities that promote learning about residential schools and the TRC.
University of Toronto Resources
- Gaudry, A., & Lorenz, D. (2018). Indigenization as inclusion, reconciliation, and decolonization: navigating the different visions for indigenizing the Canadian Academy. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 14(3), 218–227
Sample Classroom Exercises
Listen, Learn & Reflect
- Listen to survivor stories – there are many available on the Legacy of Hope Foundation website.
- Write a reflection:
- Who was the story about?
- Where were they from?
- How did going to residential schools impact them?
- How did hearing their story impact you?
- What can you do going forward?
- Discussion Post
- Have students choose one of the 94 Calls to Action from the TRC.
- Why did you choose this call to action? Why is it important?
- What can you do to support this call to action?
- Can you connect this call to your course/field of study?
Meaningful actions you can do to support Indigenous peoples and the TRC Calls to Action.
Donate to Indigenous organizations, foundations and communities directly supporting Indigenous peoples. For example:
- Orange Shirt Society
- Indian Residential School Survivors Society
- Legacy of Hope Foundation
- Woodland Cultural Centre – Save the Evidence
- Downie & Wenjack Fund
Make a Commitment
Write it down: I [insert your name] commit to continued learning and supporting the Calls to Action in the TRC by: [insert at least one short-term and one long-term action you can take].
Amplify Indigenous Voices
Indigenous peoples have been doing great work in communities for decades, listen to them and share their stories.
Write Elected Officials
Elected officials, such as Members of Parliament (MPs) are elected to bring forth the public’s opinion and views to parliament. To find out who your MP is, follow this link and enter your postal code.