The following resource list was created by Amy Desjarlais and Jeffrey McNeil-Seymour
“We need to make sure the removal of Indigenous children and the residential school experience is never forgotten and never repeated!”
A different way of learning
In the wake of the May 27, 2021 atrocious news about the remains of 215 children found buried at a former B.C. residential school and subsequent news stories, not only do we—the members of the Kiwenitawi-kiwin Kiskino-hamatewina (Rebirthed Teachings) Working Group—wish to share some resources and calls to action with you, but we also extend an invitation to walk the path of action together. We understand more stories like this are going to continue to come to light. The time to walk a path of action together has never been more important.
What is in this document?
A) Message from the COVID-19 Indigenous Facebook page (May 31, 2021)
For non-Indigenous people:
Settlers, it is important to acknowledge the benefits of living the lives you do, due to the Indian Residential School system and settler colonialism. Settlers too have been greatly impacted by this system, and continue to receive benefits from it today.
Indigenous people sharing these stories and experiences is not to make you feel guilty, but to bring awareness to the truths of Indigenous experiences in Canada. Acknowledging and confronting these truths is not a comfortable process, but it is necessary. As settlers, there is a responsibility to do the work to learn, and advocate for and reconcile with Indigenous Peoples.
There is power in learning and education, and it is a great place to begin the reconciliation process in your life.
We have compiled a list of free and informative resources on residential schools that may provide insight and value to you during this time.
Along with these resources, you should also learn about who’s land you live on, contact your local elected officials and ask them what they are doing to make positive change, and do the work to have conversations with and educate settlers in your lives about why this is important.
Reconciliation benefits all of us, and is a start to making our world a better, safer place for everyone. This work does not end here, it is ongoing, but there is no better time to start then today.
- National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation: Resources for non-Indigenous people
- Assembly of First Nations: “It’s Our Time” education toolkit
- Aboriginal Healing Foundation: Residential school resources directory
- University of Alberta: Indigenous Canada (free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC))
- Union of Ontario Indians: An overview of the Indian Residential School System
B) Learn about and support Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc
- Website: Visit Tk‘emlúpsemc, “the people of the confluence”
- Support Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc
- Statement: From the Office of the Chief, Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir (May 31, 2021)
- Statement: Remains of Children of Kamloops Residential School Discovered (May 27, 2021)
Resources provided by Jeffrey McNeil-Seymour and Amy Desjarlais.
C) Calls to Action
Honour the 215
- Take a moment of silence at 2:15 p.m.
- Visit the vigils in solidarity around Toronto (or locally in your area).
- Change your social media profile pictures to orange or use available filters.
- Hang orange shirts outside your places of residence in solidarity.
- Organize solidarity vigils.
- Donate to Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS)
- Wear orange shirts (be sure to support orangeshirtday.org or buy shirts from businesses that donate to Indian Residential School Survivor support organizations with funds raised through orange shirt sales).
- Call your local area business associations and ask business with storefronts to dress their store front in orange in recognition of the 215 tiny lives lost in this atrocity and support of the residential school survivors and their families (idea provided by Jeffrey McNeil-Seymour).
- Engage with the Aftercare Toolkit created by the Rebirthed Teachings Working Group for community members who have engaged with the KAIROS Blanket Exercise. Residential school survivors and the spirits of the children who did not come home from the residential school experience continue to awaken our minds to their collective truths. We offer these resources that can provide you with holistic, wrap-around care for your body, heart, mind and spirit.
- Read the resources compiled by the On Canada Project: Settlers Take Action
- Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada reports and its 94 Calls to Action.
- Read the Yellowhead Institute: Calls to Action Accountability – 2020 Status Update on Reconciliation
- Learn about whose traditional territory you live on and what treaty/ies may govern the relationship between you and the First Peoples of that territory by visiting the Native Land website.
- Sign up to learn through the Aboriginal Knowledges and Experiences certificate through the Chang School at X University.
- Sign up to learn through the Indigenous Canada online MOOC from the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada.
- Talk: TED Talk: Jeffrey McNeil-Seymour (Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nation)
- Webinar: P’èsk’a Picks webinar 5: A conversation with Professor Jeffrey McNeil-Seymour
- Trailer: “Muffins for Granny”
- Documentary: “Wawahte: Stories of Residential School Survivors”
- Documentary: “Unrepentant: Kevin Annett and Canada’s Genocide”
- Documentary: TVO: “First Contact” (episode 2)
- Webinar: Cynthia Bird: “Treaty Making and the significance of the Royal Proclamation 1763”
- Resources, including videos: Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching: “Indigenous Knowledges”
Sign these petitions and send letters to government officials
- Send a letter to your local MP and MPP using this template that you can customize.
- Sign the petition calling for a national day of mourning for the lost children of residential schools (organized by C. Crowdy).
- Sign the petition demanding ground penetrating radar at all historic Indian Residential Schools (organized by students from York University).
Get involved on campusTo become more actively involved in reciprocal allyship and learn more about the Kiwenitawi-kiwin Kiskino-hamatewina (Rebirthed Teachings) Working Group and the ways you can get involved, please send our group lead, Amy Desjarlais, an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.