Listening to Survivors Educational Package

Residential Schools are not in the past. They are present in the lives of Survivors and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but they do not have the final say. By reviving language, celebrating culture and passing on teachings, First Nations, Métis and Inuit are healing as they reject the past.

By listening, learning and reflecting, Canadians of all ages can work toward becoming partners on the path to reconciliation. The theme for this year’s Truth and Reconciliation Week magazine is Listening to Survivors. It contains an original poem by Makayla Webkamigad, the award-winning Richard Van Camp describing his efforts at later-life language learning, stories of real-life reconciliation projects, words from Elders and Survivors, and more.


The accompanying lesson plans included in this guide are designed to help teachers and students engage their hearts as well as their minds as they explore the publication together. We encourage teachers to bring Indigenous voices and perspectives into the classroom all year long. It is important to centre the stories of Survivors, who have long spoken of the diversity of experiences that Indigenous children faced at Residential Schools: separation and isolation; physical, sexual and emotional abuse; resilience, and resistance. Many Survivors also hold traditional knowledges, teachings, practices, and languages, passed on through generations. Listen to their stories with open hearts and open minds.

Download the PDF of this guide.

On behalf of Canada’s National History Society with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, thank you to all teachers who are taking on this important work of advancing reconciliation every day in their classrooms and their communities.


Learning through Poetry

This activity guides students through a reading of and reflection on the poem “For My Nieces” by Makayla Webkamigad.

Building Respect for Indigenous Languages

In this lesson, students will discuss language revitalization and explore diverse ways that language conveys meaning.

Sharing Knowledge Through Stories

This lesson explores the importance of listening to stories, the issues of appropriation of Indigenous stories, and the protocols around telling a story.

Indigenous Place Names in Canada

In this lesson, students will learn about efforts to restore traditional place names in their region and participate in a mapping activity.


Remembering the Children

Canadians are still grappling with the truths about residential schools, spurring long-overdue conversations inside and outside the classroom. Remembering the Children offers a way to begin those conversations.

Truth and Reconciliation Week 2021

This free magazine is intended for students in grades 5–12. Through an allegorical graphic novel-style comic, it explores what it means to have guests arrive at your doorstep, and your home taken away, and how we can still find ways to live well together.

Every Child Matters

This free magazine, which is based on the Seven Sacred Teachings, is aimed for students in grades 5–12. Each chapter teaches children about residential schools, Treaties, and the historic and current relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Available in English and French.

More resources

For more lesson plans and educational resources visit the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.