Truth and Reconciliation: Every Canadian’s Responsibility

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) was officially launched in 2008 as part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA). The TRC was intended to discover the facts behind the residential school system and provide actions for lasting reconciliation for indigenous peoples and all Canadians.

There are two videos to choose from to learn about Truth and Reconciliation.

The first one is better for younger kids, the second one will appeal to older kids. Feel free to watch one, or both!

WARNING: Sometimes learning about indigenous rights and colonial history is hard. This block might not be appropriate for everyone. You should check with your grown ups before going any further.

You may see a number of other videos that are a deeper dive into things you might be interested in. Feel free to watch as many of those as you like. Then choose some activities and/or a project. 

High school students or any student who wants to dig deeper, continue your study with one of the advanced learning projects in the Projects section. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to test your understanding by taking the quiz.

Take A Deeper Dive!

Educating our youth – Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

How to talk about Indigenous people

Truth and Reconciliation | Kevin Lamoureux | TEDxUniversityofWinnipeg

11 facts about the disconcerting gap in education, wealth, and health between First Nations and the rest of Canada

Sen. Murray Sinclair: How can Canadians work toward reconciliation

Every Child Matters parts 1 (Truth) and 2 (Reconciliation) from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation


Write a song or a poem

Watch and listen to the song Diamonds in the Snow by Charlie Angus. The song is a tribute to Shannen Koostachin and the children of Attawapiskat First Nation. Shannen’s Dream, a campaign to improve indigenous education in Canada,  became the largest youth-led rights movement in Canadian history. 

What is this song about? What do you think about it? How does it make you feel? What did you learn? What questions do you have?

Think about a cause that is important to you. Write a song or a poem about it. Consider what you want your reader or listener to learn or feel. You could record yourself reciting or singing it. 

This activity was adapted from the resources of the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society

Save your song or poem to your portfolio.

Participate in Orange Shirt Day

Phyllis Webstad was only six years old when she went to a residential school. She was excited to go at first, and was proud of her new orange shirt. Listen to Phyllis tell her story in the first video. 

Orange Shirt Day is recognized on September 30 each year. You can wear an orange shirt to bring attention to the stories of residential school survivors.

To honour orange shirt day anytime, you could make an orange shirt pin. 

For this craft, you will need

  • Orange felt
  • Stiff interfacing or cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Thread and needle
  • Marker or pen
  • Pin backing
  • T-shirt shaped template (you can draw your own)
  • White glue

Save a picture of your craft to your portfolio.


Make a Picture Book

Watch the read aloud of the book Shi Shi Etko by Nicola I. Campbell. Then watch the short film Directed by Kate Kroll on the same story. 

Think about what it would feel like to be separated from your family and leave your familiar home behind. Perhaps you have experienced a situation where you had to move from your home or change schools. 

Create a picture book that captures your feelings and events during this time. 

Watch this video on How to Write a Story.

Watch the video on different ways to bind your book and choose a method. Collect your supplies based on the method you have selected.

You will need

  • White paper
  • Coloured paper or cardstock for your book cover
  • Binding materials (staples, washi tape, binder rings, brads, hole punch, binder clips, etc.)
  • Coloured pencils or markers to illustrate your book
  • Pencil to write your book

Save your book to your portfolio.

Advanced Project(s)

Choose at least one.

The videos above are only available in Canada. There are more from this series available in the TVO indigenous playlist on Youtube.

You can read the reports delivered by the TRC, including the 94 Calls to Action.

To learn more about the history of indigenous peoples in Canada, you can take a free, online course, Indigenous Canada, offered through the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Native Studies.

The Road to Reconciliation Interview

Watch one or both of the above panel interviews reflecting on the 5 year anniversary of the TRC report. 

Interview someone in your community on their thoughts on reconciliation, how far we’ve come and where we need to go from here. Alternatively, you could write a fictional interview with an indigenous leader from the past or present. Here are some suggestions of leaders you could research prior to creating your interview:

  • Joseph Brant
  • Mary Brant
  • Murray Sinclair
  • Sara Riel
  • Cindy Blackstock
  • Charles Edenshaw

You could start with the Canadian Encyclopedia.

Save the text, video, or audio of this interview to your portfolio.

Learn about historical treaties between indigenous peoples and the government in Canada

Watch the video on Treaties with indigenous people in Canada cbcRead the article on Treaties with Indigenous Peoples in Canada in the Canadian Encyclopedia.

Download and print the worksheet from Historica Canada Education. 

Using the Native Lands map, adjust the toggle buttons in the top left corner to turn off Territories and Language and turn on Treaties. 

Work through the questions in the worksheet and save your observations to your portfolio.

Notice, Think, Wonder

Download and print the Notice, Think, Wonder chart and the Thinking Sheet from Indigenous Education

Look at the cover of the book the Secret Path. Then complete your NWT worksheet. 

Now watch and listen to the music video for Gord Downie’s song, The Stranger. Using your Thinking Sheet, think about the questions on the sheet: How does learning about one person’s story give us an idea about the impact of residential school on people in Canada? How is this a story for all Canadians?

Save your observations to your portfolio.


Read Aloud Book(s)

Shi shi etko Read Aloud

Shin chi’s Canoe Read Aloud

NOw Let’s Have some fun!