National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Content Warning: The sites, films, and resources listed below include information about residential school experiences. If you require emotional support or assistance, please call the 24-hour Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419, or the Indian Residential School Survivors Society toll free line at 1-800-721-0066.
On September 30th, take time to recognize and commemorate the enduring legacy of residential schools. Below you'll find all sorts of resources to inform and help you on your personal and our collective journeys through reconciliation.
Learning and Taking Action - Gain a greater understanding of what reconciliation means, and how you can incorporate it into your daily life
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
- 94 Calls to Action - Become familiar with the ways that individuals, businesses, and governments can become a part of the reconciliation journey
- Residential School Timeline - Learn more about the historical legacy of Residential schools, as well as laws & legislation that still have an impact to this day
- Truth and Reconciliation Week 2021 - online events for both schools and the general public
- Office of the Treaty Commissioner - Reconciliation Saskatchewan
- Legacy of Hope Foundation - A national Indigenous charitable organization with the mandate to educate and create awareness and understanding about the Residential School System, including the intergenerational impacts
- Residential Schools Land Memory Atlas - This online atlas aims to enrich knowledge and education relating to Residential Schools, their sites and Survivors’ perspectives
- The Hon. Murray Sinclair on why we need truth for reconciliation (Conference Board of Canada Bright Future Podcast interview with the Honourable Murray Sinclair)
- A compiled list of resources from South East Sport, Culture, and Recreation District
- Author Monique Gray Smith on Talking to Kids About Residential Schools
- Talking About Residential Schools with "When We Were Alone" | David A. Robertson | For Educators
- Respecting Reconciliation from an Indigenous Perspective - Elder Willie Ermine
- Reconciliation Canada
Below you'll find a selection of films by Indigenous filmmakers and allies about the tragic impact of residential schools in Canada. To view more, visit the National Film Board of Canada website.
Directed by Marie Clements
2017 | 1 hour 41 min
The Road Forward, a musical documentary by Marie Clements, connects a pivotal moment in Canada’s civil rights history—the beginnings of Indian Nationalism in the 1930s—with the powerful momentum of First Nations activism today. The Road Forward’s stunningly shot musical sequences, performed by an ensemble of some of Canada’s finest vocalists and musicians, seamlessly connect past and present with soaring vocals, blues, rock, and traditional beats. A rousing tribute to the fighters for First Nations rights, a soul-resounding historical experience, and a visceral call to action.
Directed by Jeff Barnaby
2015 | 5 min
In five short minutes, this short film destroys any remaining shreds of the myth of a fair and just Canada. Children forced from their homes and sent to residential schools, families examined like livestock in crowded tuberculosis clinics, tainted water and land, poisoned for industry and profit at the cost of Indigenous lives, and the list goes on. But filmmaker Jeff Barnaby's message is clear: We are still here. Featuring the music of Tanya Tagaq.
Directed by Alanis Obomsawin
2016 | 2 hours 42 min
The rights of First Nations children take centre stage in this monumental documentary. Following a historic court case filed by the Assembly of First Nations and the Child and Family Caring Society of Canada against the federal government, Alanis Obomsawin exposes generations of injustices endured by First Nations children living on reserves and their families. Through passionate testimony and unwavering conviction, frontline childcare workers and experts including Cindy Blackstock take part in a decade-long court battle to ensure these children receive the same level of care as other Canadian children. Their case against Canada is a stark reminder of the disparities that persist in First Nations communities and the urgent need for justice to be served.
Directed by Kevin Papatie
2007 | 4 min
In the Kitcisakik community, the Algonquin language is dying out, just four generations after the federal government's assimilation policy came into effect.
Directed by Gil Cardinal
1987 | 43 min
An important figure in the history of Canadian Indigenous filmmaking, Gil Cardinal was born to a Métis mother but raised by a non-Indigenous foster family, and with this auto-biographical documentary he charts his efforts to find his biological mother and to understand why he was removed from her. Considered a milestone in documentary cinema, it addressed the country’s internal colonialism in a profoundly personal manner, winning a Special Jury Prize at Banff and multiple international awards. “Foster Child is one of the great docs to come out of Canada, and nobody but Gil could have made it,” says Jesse Wente, director of Canada’s Indigenous Screen Office. “Gil made it possible for us to think about putting our own stories on the screen, and that was something new and important.”
Directed by Alanis Obomsawin
2017 | 1 hour 37 min
Our People Will Be Healed, Alanis Obomsawin’s 50th film, reveals how a Cree community in Manitoba has been enriched through the power of education. The Helen Betty Osborne Ininiw Education Resource Centre in Norway House, north of Winnipeg, receives a level of funding that few other Indigenous institutions enjoy. Its teachers help their students to develop their abilities and their sense of pride.
Directed by Anne Wheeler
1976 | 16 min
This short documentary offers an intimate portrait of Augusta Evans, an 88-year-old Secwépmec woman who has spent her life in the hills of the Williams Lake area of British Columbia, where she lives alone in a log cabin without running water or electricity. Born the daughter of a Chief, Augusta was forced to attend residential school and lost her treaty status when she wed her non-Indigenous husband. After seeing a woman lose her life in childbirth, Augusta taught herself midwifery from a book and delivered many babies, including her own daughter, whom she birthed alone in her cabin. Having lived through many losses and now surviving on a $250 monthly pension that barely covers wood and groceries, Augusta is a cherished member of her community, where she shares her knowledge and songs, and laments that the young people are not learning their language.