Content warning: residential schools
McGill University is located on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudensaunee and Anishinabeg nations. McGill honours, recognizes and respects these nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which we meet today.
The discovery of 215 children buried at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School has awoken many Canadians to the horrors of the residential school system in Canada. Starting in the late 1800’s, the Canadian Government and several churches devised the school system as a way of removing Indigenous children from their homes and cultures with the purpose of assimilating them into settler culture. This horrific practice has left generations of trauma among Indigenous peoples and has been labelled a cultural genocide by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
The truth about residential schools may not be known by all in Canada and may even be a completely new revelation for international students studying here at McGill University. We encourage all to take advantage of the resources available to them to learn more about this school system and the devastating impact it is had on Indigenous peoples. At the McGill Library we have many books and films that you can use to expand your knowledge and view of residential schools. The books included in the list below are told by Indigenous voices whenever possible and include both non-fiction and fiction titles.
Some of the books and films that are a part of this list were created in a time when the perspectives and language used to describe residential schools did not reflect the horrors that were inflicted within them. Please consider the time-period and the societal views of the creators as you delve into these works.
For those looking to find academic research on residential schools, our Indigenous Studies guide is a great place to start.
Other resources include:
- National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
- Canadian Geographic Education and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Google Earth Voyager story
- CBC interactive map of residential schools in Canada
- Native Land Digital interactive map of Indigenous territory
While this is not en exhaustive list of resources, we encourage all to seek out and educate themselves not only on residential schools, but also on the history of Indigenous peoples as we all take steps forward in reconciliation.
If you have any questions about the resources shared in this post, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.