Graham Library and Trinity College Archives extend our support to Indigenous communities who are grieving the recent discovery of 215 Indigenous children’s graves at the site of the Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C. and more recently, the Brandon Indian Residential School in Brandon, Manitoba.
Many Canadians have been disturbed by this news, and it has compelled us to re-examine what it means to be active participants in the reconciliation with Indigenous people in this country. We recognize that as a Canadian library and archives, one of our ongoing responsibilities in reconciliation is to highlight and share resources and information for our community members to learn about the residential school system in Canada and its lasting impact today. This first post offers some recommended works on the topic Truth and Reconciliation in Canada that are freely available online or through the University of Toronto Libraries System.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
A key starting point for reconciliation reading is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action. The TRC was established as part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement and was mandated to document the experiences of residential school survivors, their families and communities and to make their stories known to all Canadians. In 2015 the TRC published final reports that included the 94 Calls to Action that the committee identified to be fundamental to reconciliation in Canada.
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation was established to preserve the records and documentation gathered through the TRC, and to ensure all Canadians understand the truth behind the residential school system.
A Knock on the Door : the Essential History of Residential Schools from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Edited & abridged. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2016.
Craft, Aimée, and Paulette Regan. Pathways of Reconciliation: Indigenous and Settler Approaches to Implementing the TRC’s Calls to Action. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2020.
Loyie, Oskiniko Larry, Wayne K. Spear, and Connie Brissenden. 2014. Residential Schools : with the Words and Images of Survivors Brantford, Ont: Indigenous Education Press.
Lowman, Emma Battell, and Adam J. Barker. 2015. Settler : Identity and Colonialism in 21st Century Canada. Halifax ;: Fernwood Publishing.
Merasty, Joseph Auguste, and David Carpenter. The Education of Augie Merasty : a Residential School Memoir . Regina, Saskatchewan: University of Regina Press, 2015.
Smith, Donald B. Seen but Not Seen : Influential Canadians and the First Nations from the 1840s to Today. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division, 2020.
Vowel, Chelsea. Indigenous Writes: a Guide to First Nations, Metis & Inuit Issues in Canada . Winnipeg, Manitoba: Highwater Press, 2016.
Webstad, Phyllis, and Brock Nicol. The Orange Shirt Story . Victoria, B.C: Medicine Wheel Education, 2018.
Good, Michelle. 2020. Five Little Indians First edition. Toronto, Ontario: Harper Perennial.
Maracle, Lee. Celia’s Song. Toronto Cormorant Books Inc, 2014.
Wagamese, Richard. Indian Horse. Vancouver : Douglas & McIntyre, c2012.
Other Recommended Resource Lists
Our colleagues at the OISE Library have an extensive list of resources on their guide Infusing Indigenous Perspectives in K-12 Teaching that includes a list of Truth and Reconciliation Content for Educators:
A library colleague at the Toronto Public Library recently published an excellent blog post, Remembering the 215 Children that provides timely recommendations of a mix of non-fiction and also fiction for all reading ages on Reconciliation in Canada and the residential school system. Some of these resources are also available at University of Toronto Libraries.
The University of Toronto produced its own report on detailing how the university community would adapt the Calls to Action from the TRC for this context. More information can be found in this summary report: Truth and Reconciliation: Calls to Action University of Toronto.pdf
A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.