Over more than 100 years, the Canadian government took 150,000 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children from their families and placed them in residential schools. In these schools, young people were assigned a number, forced to wear European-style clothes, forbidden to speak their native language, required to work, and often subjected to physical and psychological abuse. If they tried to leave the schools to return to their families, they were captured by the RCMP and forced back. Run by churches, the schools were paid for by the federal government. The last residential school closed in 1996.
It took decades for people to speak out in public about the devastating impact of residential schools. School Survivors eventually came together and launched court actions against the federal government and the churches. In 2008 the Canadian government apologized for the historic wrongs committed by the residential school system. The survivors’ lawsuits led to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the largest class-action settlement in Canadian history, and the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Commission spent six years gathering testimony and discovering the facts about residential schools.
This book includes the text of the government’s apology and summarizes the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, which offer the basis for a new relationship between the Canadian government, Aboriginal people, and non-Aboriginal people.
"If I were purchasing materials for a high school library, I would buy at least 2 copies, and I would urge Social Studies and Aboriginal Studies classroom teachers to have at least one copy on their bookselves. Perhaps the strongest work to date in the Righting Canada's Wrongs series, Residential Schools underscores the importance of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's work... Highly Recommended."
- CM: Canadian Review of Materials
"As one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action states, 'Make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples' historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandetory education requirement for kindergarten to Grade Twelve students.' (p. 7) this book certainly contributes to this action and should be added to every junior and senior high school and public library in Canada. Highly Recommended." Rated E - Excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!
- Resource Links
"A great book...there's a lot there for us all."
- CBC Metro Morning
"This resource-rich book is sure to spark both class and individual exploration. An index, glossary, and timeline will help teens navigate the rich content in this book, while links to online video and audio clips and the 'For Further Reading' section will guide them beyond its pages. Teachers will also find lesson plans and other helpful tools in an accompanying series Resource Guide."
- Jen Bailey, National Reading Campaign
Recommended by the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett for the #GiftingReconciliation Campaign
"A wonderful series [Righting Canada's Wrongs] of beautiful books."
- Times Colonist
About the Author:
Melanie Florence is a writer of Cree and Scottish heritage based in Toronto. She was close to her grandfather as a child, a relationship that sparked her interest in writing about Indigenous themes and characters. She is the author of many books of fiction and non-fiction, including the young adult novel The Missing and Jordin Tootoo: The highs and lows of the first Inuk to play in the NHL, designated an Honor Book by the American Indian Library Association.