Residential Schools

What Were the Residential Schools?

"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's official apology, June 11, 2008

Staff Development / Additional Resources

History of the Residential Schools

Visit the interactive timeline

What is the Impact of Residential Schools?

Watch "The Moment of Reckoning" Video

Where Were Residential Schools and When Did They Close?

Visit the Interactive Map

More Resources

UBC Indigenous Foundation website

Secret Path

A 12 year old Ojibway boy who died from hunger and exposure after trying to find his way home from a residential school is the inspiration behind a new project from Gord Downie. Through this project, Downie is drawing attention to the legacy of residential schools and what he sees as the need for all Canadians to be involved in reconciliation.



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Residential Schools

These government-sponsored religious schools were 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.