During Residential Schools Resources

Student Books/Resources

My Name is Seepeetza – Shirley Sterling 

Grade 5 resource


This is a novel about a girl who went to residential schools, it is told through the eyes of a grade 6 student in a series of journal entries. The story focuses on how she had to live in residential schools, she talks about punishment and the rules and restrictions in residential schools.  The writing is skillfully done, but there is not much of a plot.  Its is a quick read and

A novel study guide exploring the themes of residential schools, catholicism, persecution, power of family, loneliness, compassion and bullying.  It provided many different writing activities students can complete based around First Nations perspectives.

No Time to Say Good-bye – by Sylvia Olsen

Grade 5-6 Resource51TX7D7ZVKL

This is a novel that is based off of five fictional characters.  The story is based around five different narratives.  It talks about homesickness, confusion, and discusses the strict school routine as well as the very abrupt and sudden switching of realities.

Lesson Idea: Novel Jigsaw – Divide the students into 5 different groups.  Each group reads one narrative and presents that narrative to the class.  Each group will get the chance to present their narrative.

Goodbye Buffalo Bay – Larry Loyie

Grades 7-9

This novel is about a First Nation’s boy named Lawrence who went to residential schools and how he  learns the power of friendship and courage to stand up for what he believes.  The novel focuses on themes such as self-discovery, the importance of friendship, the difference between anger and assertiveness and the realization of youthful dreams.  It is the sequel to the book As Long as the River Flows.

As Long as the River Flows – Larry Loyie

Grade 4-61237776

This children’s story is about Larry Loyie’s last summer with his Cree tribe before he has to go to residential schools.  It focuses on traditional Cree learnings.  The story provides excellent illustrations to share Larry’s personal journey before he goes to residential schools.

A novel study for grades 4-6 on As Long as the River Flows is available from the Regina Catholic School Division.  It is a two week study and provides plenty of activities and worksheets classroom teachers are able to access for a resource.

Shi-shi-etko by Nicola I. Campbell

Early Elementary OR introduction for Middle YearsSki-shi-etko

Children’s story about a young girl who has to leave for residential schools in a short four days.  She goes around saying goodbye and spending time with her grandmother, grandfather, mother, and father, each who share a teaching they want her to remember.

Middle Years Lesson Idea:  Who is in your support network?  (Yarn activity)

Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese

Grade 11 or 12 due to sensitive material, excerpts can be used for middle years.   Indian-Horse

A story about Saul Indian Horse who is sent to residential school, it is a story about the decline of his First Nations culture because of residential schools.  Saul Indian Horse is a excellent hockey player, which he had the opportunity to play in residential schools.

The story talks about his residential school experience as well as how he is coping after his residential school experience.

The book is labelled as a must read for Canadians

7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga by David Alexander Robinson, and Scott B. Henderson

  • This is a graphic novel that contains four books Stone, Scars, downloadEnds/Begins, and the Pact.  Each story depicts the journey of a depicting a young, lost Aboriginal man who must understand his family’s past in order to have any future.  The story looks at the history of First Nations people looking at the issue of smallpox, residential schools, and a story about redemption  and beginning a new journey.
  • This is a great resource for EAL learners because of the great illustrations in the novel provides.
  • Perfect hook for a class for an introduction of the topic of residential schools, as it is easy to understand,
  • The novel would tie in perfectly with the Treaty Outcome SI8 – Assess the impact residential Schools have on First Nations communities.
    • Students would be able to examine how First Nations and communities continue to deal with and heal from abuses experienced by First Nation peoples in residential schools.
  • A teacher’s guide for the 7 Generations Saga is a excellent resource that teachers can access for free to aid in their teaching of the 7 Generations series.

Fatty Legs

Grade 5 or 6download (1)A story about an 8 year old Inuit girl, Olemaun, who emerges from a residential schools with her spirit intact.  When she attended residential schools she was humiliated because she was told to wear bright red stockings as compared to everyone else’s grey stockings.  She is given the name “Fatty Legs”.  It is about her courage to stand up for herself.  The story is about triumph, hope, and dignity, even in difficult times.  

Mush-hole: Memories of Residential School by Maddie Harper

Grades 6-9

A story about a girl who went to residential schools who was able to escape.  This story is about the loss of culture and identity that residential schools have caused.  She talks about the physical and psychological pain that she received through discipline in residential schools.

This is a 20-page illustrated memoir, that can be accessed in the treaty education kit.

 Teacher Resources

100 Years of Loss – Edu-Kit – Kit that teachers can access to raise awareness and teaching about the history and legacy of residential schools.

There are Other Children Here – Verna St. Denis (Article) This article is about how multiculturalism is used and has been used to defend public schools against the need to respond to Aboriginal education (pg312).  Gives good insight on the importance to teach Aboriginal content in Canadian Classrooms.

Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Residential Schools by Theodore Font9462473aine (Book)

about the psychological, emotional and sexual abuse, the loss of his language and culture, and, most important the loss of family and community.  It is also a story of his healing through the residential school experience.

They Called Me Number One by Bev Sellars (Book)

An autobiography of Bev Sellars experience through residential schools.  It talks about her, her mother, and her grandmothers experience in St. Joseph’s Mission at Williams Lake, BC.  It talks about issues faced such as hunger, forces labour, physical beatings, and the cultural loss of First Nations people because of residential schools.

Tebatchimowin: Promoting awareness of the history and legacy of the Indian Residential School System (Teacher’s Guide)

A teacher’s guide that focuses on the history of the Residential School System and to recognize the impact of the Residential Schools.  This booklet has six activities, each of which examines an aspect of the history or legacy of the Residential School System.


100yearsofloss.ca – A website that looks at the history of residential schools. It provides additional resources, a timeline, offers an app.  The goal of the site is to increase  public awareness and knowledge of the history and legacy of the Indian Residential School System.

wherearethechildren.ca  – This site is to acknowledge the experiences of, and the impacts and consequences of Canada’s Residential School System on Aboriginal peoples.


We Were Children (2012) – This film is the story of two residential school survivors through the eyes of two children: Glen Anaquod and Lyna Hart.  The movie touches on the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse the children experienced.  However, I would caution teachers showing this documentary to their students because of the difficult subject matter.  The movie can be accessed through Netflix.


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