Essential QuestionWas the residential school system a well-meaning mistake or was it a shameful abuse of power?
Learning Standards Content
Students are expected to know the following:
- the continuing effects of imperialism and colonialism on indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world
Students are expected to be able to do the following:
- explain and infer different perspectives on past or present people, places, issues, or events by considering prevailing norms, values, worldviews, and beliefs (perspective)
I can discuss the importance of knowing about residential schools.
I can determine the most significant events in the history of the residential school system in Canada.
I can explain why it is important to redress a wrong even if it happened many years prior.
First People's Principles of LearningLearning involves recognizing the consequences of one’s actions.
- Share the Statement by Gord Downie about why he recorded the album and wrote the graphic novel The Secret Path.
- Read aloud the graphic novel, The Secret Path by Gordon Downie and Jeff Lemire.
- Have students compete the first two columns of the Residential Schools KWL Chart. (They will complete the third column as a Post-Assessment.)
Part 1: Residential School Fact Finding
- Organize students in groups of 3-4 and give each group a copy of the Residential Fact Finding sheet.
- Groups should work together to research residential schools and record their findings on the Residential Fact Finding sheet. The websites listed under Additional References are an excellent place to start.
Part 2: History of the Residential School System
- Provide students with access to the websites listed under Additional References in order to research the history of the residential school system in Canada.
- Have student determine the six most significant events in the history of the residential school system in Canada. Remind students that significant events include those that resulted in great change over long periods of time for large numbers of people.
- Have students organize their six significant events in a Timeline.
Part 2: The Residential School Experience
- Provide each student with a copy of the Residential School Experience sheet and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission resource They Came for the Children.
- Using a Jigsaw Activity, divide the class into 9 groups and assign each group one topic from the Residential School Experience sheet. Have each group work together to read their assigned topic and take notes.
- Then create new groups so that every group contains a student who has completed one of the 9 topics.
- Have students teach their new groups what they learned about their topic.
Part 3: Truth and Reconciliation
- Explain that in 2008, Prime Minister Harper apologized to Indigenous people for the residential school system that they and their ancestors experienced. In 2015 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released 94 Calls to Action. As Justice Murray Sinclair said, “Canada needs to move from apology to action”.
- Have students use the interactive Beyond 94 to research one of the 94 Calls to Action and complete the sheet Calls to Action
- In their journal, have students respond to the question: “What should every Canadian know about Truth and Reconciliation?”
Read one of the books listed in Additional References.
BCCampus. [n.d.] “Case Study 1: The Indian Residential School System.”
Canadian Geographic. [n.d.] “Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada.”
Facing History & Ourselves.  “Killing the Indian in the Child.”
Glover, Fred. 2020. “Residential Schools in Canada (Plain-Language Summary).” The Canadian Encyclopedia. https://thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/residential-schools-in-canada-plain-language-summary
Indigenous Foundations. 2009. “The Residential School System. History of Residential Schools.” https://indigenousfoundations.arts.ubc.ca/the_residential_school_system/
Legacy of Hope Foundation. 2020. “Where are the Children? Healing the Legacy of the Residential Schools.” http://legacyofhope.ca/en_ca/wherearethechildren/
Ry, Moran. 2020. “Truth and Reconciliation Commission.” The Canadian Encyclopedia. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/truth-and-reconciliation-commission
Boyden, Joseph. Wenjack. [Toronto] : Hamish Hamilton, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited, 2016.
Hill, Gord. The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book. Vancouver : Arsenal Pulp Press, c2010.
Jordan-Fenton, Christy. When I was Eight. Toronto : Annick Press, c2013.
Loyie, Oskiniko Larry. Goodbye Buffalo Bay. Penticton, B.C. : Theytus Books, 2008.
Slipperjack, Ruby. Dear Canada: These are My Words. The Residential School Diary
of Violet Pesheens Northern Ontario, 1966. Toronto : Scholastic Canada Ltd., 2016.
[Discussion Guide] http://www.scholastic.ca/dearcanada/teaching/pdfs/TheseAreMyWords.pdf
Webstad, Phyllis. Phyllis’s Orange Shirt. [Victoria, B.C.] : Medicine Wheel Education, .
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Materials and Resources
February 01, 2023