Step 2

Step 2: Learning from the First Nations, Inuit, and/or Métis nations, communities, and peoples who lived on the lands where the residential school was located. 

Use this TRC map to find an IRS near your location

In this step, your learner group learns about the Nation(s) on whose land the residential school stood or stands. What can we learn from them about the land, their ways of life, the contributions of their nations and people. This step focuses our attention on the fact that the people impacted by residential schools were human beings. They were living their lives, raising their children, governing their nations, and living in relation with the land, sky, waters, and animals around them.  What can we learn from them? 

The following questions can act as a guide to assist you in this step :

  • Learn about the languages and cultures of the people who had their traditional territory imposed upon for the building of this Residential School.
  • What are the knowledges, beliefs, and ways of living  that the people of the territory had before they were colonized?
  • How do the Indigenous people of the territory live now? How have they reclaimed their traditions, languages, and cultures? How do they continue to resist government and/or corporate oppression?
  • What can you learn from them about living in balance with the land, animals, water, and sky?
  • How did the people of this territory resist the government’s policies and laws? Research the contributions or achievements made by people or persons from this Nation’s traditional territory. This can be an individual from the past, or a living person who is demonstrating their resilience and achievements, in spite of systemic hardship. Examples have included activists, actors, athletes, musicians, performers, architects, politicians, scholars, lawyers, writers, journalists, etc. Prepare a presentation, poster, etc. about this person and share with your school or community. You can consult a list of names here.