This guide provides OC Library and web resources related to Indian residential schools in Canada as well as search strategies on this and related topics.
This is a topic that may be triggering. Please be sure to take time to care for yourself if you are researching or accessing information on this topic.
The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line is available 24-hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their Residential school experience. If you or someone you know requires immediate support, please call 1-866-925-4419.
Okanagan College students may connect with Indigenous Services or Counselling Services. As well, the Here2Talk service provides confidential counselling and community referral services, available 24/7 via app, phone and web.
IMPORTANT: the dominant structure for organizing information is from a western perspective, for this reason you may need to use outdated (sometimes offensive) terminology to find resources related to Indigenous peoples; please contact us if you'd like assistance navigating this.
Combine keywords related to the concept of Indigenous identity with keywords related to your area of interest.
|Inuit||Métis||"Indians of North America"|
|Indian||Native||Name of Nation or Community (e.g. Secwépemc)|
|"Residential schools"||"Indian industrial schools"||"Truth and Reconciliation Commission" or TRC|
|"Indian residential schools"||"Intergenerational trauma"||Genocide or "Cultural genocide"|
|"Indian day schools"||Survivors||"Calls to Action"|
Subject headings are a tool designed to help researchers find similar materials. These are only some examples of the many subject headings that Okanagan College Library uses. Spend a few minutes exploring them when you find a book in the catalogue that supports your research.
Search by Subject Terms
"The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) was created through a legal settlement between Residential Schools Survivors, the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit representatives and the parties responsible for creation and operation of the schools: the federal government and the church bodies.
The TRC’s mandate was to inform all Canadians about what happened in residential schools. The TRC documented the truth of Survivors, their families, communities and anyone personally affected by the residential school experience. This included First Nations, Inuit and Métis former residential school students, their families, communities, the churches, former school employees, government officials and other Canadians." [National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation: History of the TRC]
The final report of the TRC comes in six volumes: (links will take you to the item in the OC Library catalogue)
Volume 1: The History, Part 1. Origins to 1939, The History, Part 2. 1939 to 2000
Volume 2: The Inuit and northern experience
Volume 3: The Métis experience
Volume 4: The missing children and unmarked burials
Volume 5: The legacy
Volume 6: Reconciliation
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action included the establishment of a statutory holiday:
80. We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.
On June 30, 2021, Bill-C5 received Royal Assent thereby creating the federal statutory holiday. Previous to the federal recognition of September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Orange Shirt Day had become a widely recognized day for people to honour residential school Survivors and their families.
Phyllis Webstad shares her own personal story and how Orange Shirt Day originated in the following video:
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