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Indigenous Studies

This guide provides resources related to the interdisciplinary field of Indigenous Studies.


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 Aboriginal Services or Counselling Services. As well, the Here2Talk service provides confidential counselling and community referral services, available 24/7 via app, phone and web.

Finding Resources at OC Library

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the dominant structure for organizing information is from a western perspective, for this reason you may need to use outdated (sometimes offensive) terminology to find resources related to Indigenous peoples; please contact us if you'd like assistance navigating this.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.

For example:

Indigenous Aboriginal "First Nations"
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"
Healing Reconciliation Apology

Search Tips:

  • Use quotation marks to search for a phrase (e.g. "residential schools").
  • Use an asterisk to search for words with the same stem (e.g. sovereign* retrieves sovereign, sovereignty, sovereignties).
  • Terminology changes over time. You many need to search for alternative spellings of a word, for example: Sto:lo, Stó:lô, Staulo, Stahlo or you may need to search for alternate words, for example: Kwakiutl/Kwakwaka'wakw or Nootka/Nuu-chah-nulth

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

  • Indian residential schools in Canada
  • Indians of North America -- Canada -- Residential schools
  • Indians of North America -- Education -- Canada -- History
  • Off-reservation boarding schools
  • Native peoples -- Canada -- Residential schools
  • Truth commissions

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

"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

Indian Residential School Settlement Agreements


National Day for Truth and 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:

Featured Podcasts

Featured Books

Children's Books about Indian Residential Schools

Fatty Legs

This book chronicles the unbreakable spirit of an Inuit girl bullied by a teacher while attending an Arctic residential school.

As Long As the Rivers Flow

Chronicles the summer of 1944, Lawrence's last summer before being sent away to residential school, showing a Cree family living a traditional life in northern Alberta.


In 1964, two brothers are torn from the warm and loving care of their grandparents, and taken to a residential school far from home. The third book in the graphic novel series 7 Generations.

I Am Not a Number

A picture book based on a true story about a young First Nations girl who was sent to a residential school. Based on the life of the author's own grandmother, this book brings a terrible part of Canada's history to light in a way that children can learn from and relate to.

Kookum's Red Shoes

The legacy of the residential schools is conveyed with respect and imagination in this illustrated story for young readers.

My Name Is Seepeetza

Told in the honest voice of a sixth grader, this is the story of a young Native girl forced to live in a world governed by strict nuns, arbitrary rules, and a policy against talking in her own dialect, even with her family.


Gently moving and poetic account of a child who finds solace all around her, even though she is on the verge of great loss -- a loss that native people have endured for generations because of the residential schools system.

Stolen Words

This sensitive and warmly illustrated picture book explores the intergenerational impact of the residential school system that separated young Indigenous children from their families.

A Stranger at Home

Highlighted by archival photos and striking artwork, this first-person account of a young girl's struggle to find her place after attending residential school will inspire young readers to ask what it means to belong.

Sugar Falls

Sugar Falls is based on the true story of Betty Ross, an Elder from Cross Lake First Nation, and illustrates her experiences at a residential school.

When I Was Eight

Bestselling memoir Fatty Legs for younger readers. Now they, too, can meet this remarkable girl who reminds us what power we hold when we can read.

When We Were Alone

When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother's garden, she begins to notice things that make her curious. As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where all of these things were taken away.

Children's Resources about the Indian Residential School System


Featured Videos

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