Residential Schools Survivor Stories

The 1929 residential school building in Alert Bay, BC, now called 'Namgis House', is part of the U'mista Cultural Centre

Another video perspective of Residential School Survivors... Impacts of these schools on families and culture. Listening to stories of two survivors and their road to healing.

Pukatawagan Indian Residential School, students with nuns from the Soeurs du Sacré-Coeur d'Ottawa in front of the school, ca. 1960 (

It’s a compelling photograph, one that provides a window into the life of young Cree boys who were students at a residential school on Moose Factory Island, in the James Bay area of northern Ontario.

The picture of the Swampy Cree boys kneeling in prayer on bunk beds in Bishop Horden Memorial School while their Anglican supervisor looks on. (Toronto Star, June 1, 2015)

Researching this topics and coming across statistics like this is sickening. I keep asking myself, how was this legal? How is this Canadian?
All Saints Indian Residential School, Cree students at their desks with their teacher in a classroom, Lac La Ronge, March 1945
"Two primary objectives of the residential school system were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures, and to assimilate them into the dominant culture. These objectives were based on the assumption Aboriginal cultures and spiritual beliefs were inferior and unequal. Indeed, some sought, as it was infamously said, “to kill the Indian in the child.” Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, official apology, June 11, 2008

Is this really enough? I have watched several videos and read several articles and my heart is broken. It is broken even more because I have two students who were in the residential school system and now I know why they are reluctant to talk about it. There are so many unanswered questions that I have about why this seemed appropriate at the time. My only hope is that the Government continues to work at aiding and reconciling this mark on our history.

I am also very happy that famous Canadian Artists such as Gord Downie and helping spread awareness with their craft. I believe the more people that hear these stories, the more impact it will have on the future.

Created By
Kristi Rose


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