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Historica Canada Education Portal

Residential Schools in Canada

  • Indigenous History
  • Intermediate – Middle School

This Learning Tool appears in 4 Collections

Residential Schools in Canada
Residential schools were government-sponsored religious schools established to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian society. Successive Canadian governments used legislation to strip Indigenous peoples of basic human and legal rights, dignity and integrity, and to gain control over the peoples, their lands and natural rights and resources. The Indian Act, first introduced in 1876, gave the Canadian government license to control almost every aspect of Indigenous peoples’ lives. The Act required children to attend residential schools, the majority of which operated after 1880.

Message to Teachers
For this set of learning tools, you will need to conduct some research and lead discussions around the history and legacy of Canada’s Indian residential schools. This is an opportunity for students to develop their inquiry skills to help them understand the reasons for the actions, beliefs and decisions that motivated the creation and maintenance of this system for more than a century. It is very important to understand the difficult nature of the topic, and the emotional impact it might have on some students.

This Education Guide references the Chanie Wenjack Heritage Minute. Click here to watch the Minute.

Supporting documents for this Learning Tool

File type File size Action
ResidentialSchools_English.pdf PDF 5.27 MB Download
ResidentialSchools_Printable_Pages.pdf PDF 5.56 MB Download
EN_basic_5Ws_chart.pdf PDF 1.61 MB Download