Residential Schools Podcast Series

The Residential Schools podcast series is part of a larger awareness campaign created by Historica Canada and funded by the Government of Canada. Along with the podcast, Historica also offers a video series, an education guide, and several new entries on The Canadian Encyclopedia about the history and legacy of residential schools.



Episode 1: First Nations Experiences

When Gordon’s Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan shut its doors in 1996, it was the last federally run residential school to close. More than two decades later, the school’s legacy continues to be felt by Survivors, their families, and communities. In this episode, University of Manitoba’s Dr. Niigaanwewidam Sinclair describes the effects of residential schools on First Nations peoples. Survivors Riley Burns and Ed Bitternose recount their personal experiences at Gordon’s. Hosted by Shaneen Robinson-Desjarlais, this is “Residential Schools: First Nations Experiences.”

Special thanks to Survivors Riley Burns and Ed Bitternose. Survivor testimony for this episode was provided by the Legacy of Hope Foundation. Additional resources include University of Regina’s Shattering Silence and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future.

Thanks to our consultants: David Perley, a Wolastoqi scholar from Tobique First Nation and the Director of the Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre and Brian Maracle (Owennatekha), an author, journalist, and teacher, and a member of the Mohawk First Nation.

Additional reading:


Episode 2: Métis Experiences

The Métis are sometimes described as the “forgotten people,” particularly when it comes to the residential school experience. In this episode, Dr. Tricia Logan, a Métis historian and researcher at the Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC, describes the complex and nuanced experiences of Métis students within the system. Survivors Linda Blomme, Larry Langille and Louis Bellrose recount their experiences in the residential school system. Hosted by Shaneen Robinson-Desjarlais, this is “Residential Schools: Métis Experiences.”

Special thanks to Survivors Linda Blomme, Larry Langille, and Louis Bellrose. Survivor testimony for this episode was provided by the Legacy of Hope Foundation. Additional resources include University of Regina’s Shattering Silence and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future.

Thanks to our consultants: Guy Freedman, Métis from Flin Flon and president and senior partner of the First Peoples Group, and Larry Chartrand, professor in the faculty of law at the University of Ottawa and co-author of Métis History and Experience and Residential Schools in Canada (2006).

Additional reading:


Episode 3: Inuit Experiences

In the late 1940s, a Special Joint Committee created by the Government of Canada found that Indian Residential Schools weren’t working. Residential schools across the country were ordered to be closed and their students to be transferred to provincial schools. But then, over a decade later, two new residential schools opened in Inuvik, Northwest Territories: Grollier Hall and Stringer Hall. In this episode, Dinjii Zhuh historian Dr. Crystal Gail Fraser, an assistant professor in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Native Studies, explains why the government ignored those recommendations, and what that meant for institutionalized students. Survivors Piita Irniq and Abraham Anghik Ruben give first-hand accounts of life in Northern residential schools. Hosted by Shaneen Robinson-Desjarlais, this is “Residential Schools: Inuit Experiences.”

Special thanks to Survivors Piita Irniq and Abraham Anghik Ruben. Survivor testimony for this episode was provided by the Legacy of Hope Foundation. Additional resources include University of Regina’s Shattering Silence and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future.

Thanks to our consultant, Inuk writer, researcher, and scholar Norma Dunning.


If you or someone you know need immediate support, here are some resources:

    • National Indian Residential School Crisis Line, 1-866-925-4419
    • The Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 (phone services available in Cree, Ojibway, Inuktitut, French, and English). The Hope for Wellness Help Line also offers online support services at hopeforwellness.ca
    • Kids Help Phone, 1-800-668-686