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Residential Schools in Canada Interactive Map

The map below indicates the location of many residential schools in Canada. Click on individual points to learn a school’s name, religious denomination, opening and closing dates, and any other names by which the school was known. This map does not reflect every residential school that operated in the country. It only includes schools listed in the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement and a similar agreement reached for survivors of schools in Newfoundland and Labrador. This means that schools that operated without the support of the federal government — as in schools run by a province, a religious order, or both — are not included on this map. Day schools, where many Indigenous students experienced treatment similar to that described at residential schools, are also not included.

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Resistance and Residential Schools

Residential schools were government-sponsored religious schools that many Indigenous children were forced to attend. They were established to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture. Indigenous parents and children did not simply accept the residential-school system. Indigenous peoples fought against – and engaged with – the state, schools and other key players in the system. For the duration of the residential-school era, parents acted in the best interests of their children and communities. The children responded in ways that would allow them to survive.

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Inuit Experiences at Residential School

Residential schools were government-sponsored religious schools created to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture. Schools in the North were run by missionaries for nearly a century before the federal government began to open new, so-called modern institutions in the 1950s. This was less than a decade after a Special Joint Committee (see Indigenous Suffrage) found that the system was ineffectual. The committee’s recommendations led to the eventual closure of residential schools across the country.

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Métis Experiences at Residential School

Although the first residential schools in Canada were established with the intention of assimilating First Nations children into Euro-Canadian culture, Métis and Inuit children were also institutionalized in such facilities. Métis children experienced similar day-to-day conditions to those of other students in residential schools, but they were often considered “outsiders” by their peers and administrators. This perception affected their experiences within these institutions in particular ways.


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Intergenerational Trauma and Residential Schools

Historical trauma occurs when trauma caused by historical oppression is passed down through generations. For more than 100 years, the Canadian government supported residential school programs that isolated Indigenous children from their families and communities (see Residential Schools in Canada). Under the guise of educating and preparing Indigenous children for their participation in Canadian society, the federal government and other administrators of the residential school system committed what has since been described as an act of cultural genocide. As generations of students left these institutions, they returned to their home communities without the knowledge, skills or tools to cope in either world. The impacts of their institutionalization in residential school continue to be felt by subsequent generations. This is called intergenerational trauma.

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Wauzhushk Onigum Nation

Wauzhushk Onigum Nation (pronounced Waa-JUSHK oh-KNEE-gum), commonly referred to as Rat Portage, is an Anishinaabe community based on the north shore of Lake of the Woods in northwestern Ontario. Wauzhushk Onigum’s primary reserve, Kenora 38B, is 22.3 km2. As of 2021, the First Nation has 802 registered members, 383 of whom live on this reserve. Wauzhushk Onigum is a member of Treaty 3, signed in 1873. The City of Kenora is 3 km northwest and is the closest service hub for the First Nation.

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Carcross

Carcross, Yukon, settlement, population 301 (2016 census), 289 (2011 census). Carcross is a major Tagish and Tlingit community located at the north end of Bennett Lake, 74 km south of Whitehorse.

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St. Paul

St. Paul, Alberta, incorporated as a town in 1936, population 5,827 (2016 census), 5,405 (2011 census). The town of St. Paul, county seat for the county of St. Paul, is located on the north shore of Upper Thérien Lake, about 200 km northeast of Edmonton.

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La Ronge

Occupation of the present townsite started when Archdeacon John Alexander Mackay established a residential school and sawmill (1898). Not accessible by road until 1947, the largely Indigenous community grew very slowly for many years.

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Elsipogtog First Nation

Elsipogtog (pronounced El-see-buk-tuk) First Nation is a Mi’kmaq community about 91 km northwest of Moncton, New Brunswick. Known for many years as Big Cove, in 2003 the First Nation officially changed its name to Elsipogtog, meaning “river of fire.” However, they are still commonly referred to as Big Cove. Community members largely speak Mi’kmaw and English.

As of 2021, Elsipogtog has 3,509 registered members, 2,703 of whom live on the First Nation’s reserve. The reserve, also known as Elsipogtog, is still referred to as Richibucto 15 in some official documents. It encompasses 19.56 km2.

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Cranbrook

Cranbrook, BC, incorporated as a city in 1905, population 19 319 (2011c), 18 329 (2006c). The City of Cranbrook lies near the western edge of the ROCKY MOUNTAIN TRENCH, in the Kootenay region, 845 km east of Vancouver.

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Lillian Elias

Lillian Elias (whose Inuvialuktun name is Panigavluk) is a teacher, language activist and a residential school Survivor (born 1943 in the Mackenzie Delta, NT). Influenced by her time at residential school, where administrators attempted to forcefully strip her of her language and culture, Elias has spent much of her life promoting and preserving her first language, Inuvialuktun (see Inuvialuit).

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Rothesay

Rothesay, NB, incorporated as a town in 1998, population 11 947 (2011c), 11 637 (2006c). It is situated on the eastern side of the Kennebecasis River, 22 km northeast of Saint John.

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Outremont

Outremont, one of the smallest cities in terms of area of the MONTRÉAL Urban Community (MUC), is one of the most affluent, beautiful and picturesque residential communities on the island.

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White Rock

White Rock, BC, incorporated as a city in 1957, population 19 339 (2011c), 18 755 (2006c). The City of White Rock is 48 km by road southeast of Vancouver and is bounded on the north, east and west by Surrey. It began as a recreational resort on the shores of Semiahmoo Bay in SURREY.

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Tsiigehtchic

Tsiigehtchic, Northwest Territories, population 187 (2019). Tsiigehtchic is located at the confluence of the  Mackenzie and Arctic Red rivers. It is home to the Gwichya Gwich’in First Nation (“people of the flat lands”) who speak an Athapaskan language (see Indigenous Languages in Canada). Formerly known as Arctic Red River, the community’s name was changed to Tsiigehtchic (“at the mouth of iron river”) in 1994. The community is on the Dempster Highway. It is accessible by summer ferry across the Mackenzie River and in winter by ice road. Tsiigehtchic is one of four communities in the Gwich’in Settlement Region. The region is an area created by the Gwich’in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (1992). The other three communities in the region are AklavikFort McPherson and Inuvik. (See also Dinjii Zhuh (Gwich'in).)

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Brandon

Brandon, Manitoba, incorporated as a city in 1882, population 48,859 (2016 census), 46,061 (2011 census). The City of Brandon, the province's second-largest city and economic hub of its southwestern region, is located on the Assiniboine River, 197 km west of Winnipeg.

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Oak Bay

Oak Bay, incorporated as a district municipality in 1906, population 18 015 (2011c), 17 908 (2006c). The District of Oak Bay is located on the southeast corner of VANCOUVER ISLAND, adjoining the city of VICTORIA. It is surrounded by JUAN DE FUCA STRAIT on the south and Haro Strait on the east.

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Self-Governing First Nations in Yukon

There are 14 First Nations in Yukon. Eleven of these nations are self-governing, while the remaining three are governed under the Indian Act. The 11 self-governing First Nations have legislative and executive powers much like a province or territory. In 1993, they signed the Umbrella Final Agreement (UFA) with the governments of Canada and Yukon. The UFA served as the foundation for individual self-governing agreements made between each First Nation and the territorial and federal governments. These individual agreements were signed between 1993 and 2006. (See also Comprehensive Land Claims.) While the focus of this article is the 11 self-governing First Nations, the remaining three First Nations in Yukon are White River, Liard and Ross River.

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Leduc

Leduc, Alta, incorporated as a town in 1906 and as a city in 1983, population 24 279 (2011c), 16 967 (2006c). The City of Leduc is located 30 km south of EDMONTON. Originally a telegraph terminus and stop on the Calgary and Edmonton Railway (1891), the community grew as an agricultural centre.