Grade 5 Indian Residential Schools and Reconciliation

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These learning resources are designed to help Grade Five students attain an understanding of the history of the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people over Canada’s history. The primary learning resources are published literature, enabling a cross-curricular approach employing both Language Arts and Social Studies learning standards.

While the instructional activities are presented in a structured format that is an example of how they may be incorporated, they are intended to be flexible in their use. They allow for the application of both a First Peoples Pedagogy and the BC Social Studies Curriculum.

Download a copy of the resource here: INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS AND RECONCILIATION Teacher Resource Guide Social Studies 5

Or, visit the FNESC website to order a hard copy.


A Stranger at Home
Traditional Territory: Inuit
Format: Paperback
, 2011
  • The powerful memoir of an Inuvialuit girl searching for her true self when she returns from residential school. Traveling to be reunited with her family in the Arctic, 10-year-old Margaret Pokiak can hardly contain her excitement. It's been two years since her parents delivered her to the school run by the dark-cloaked nuns and brothers. Coming ashore, Margaret spots her family, but her mother barely recognizes her, screaming, "Not my girl." Margaret realizes she is now marked as an outsider. And Margaret is an outsider: she has forgotten the language and stories of her people, and she can't even stomach the food her mother prepares. However, Margaret gradually relearns her language and her family's way of living. Along the way, she discovers how important it is to remain true to the ways of her people -- and to herself. Highlighted by archival photos and striking artwork, this first-person account of a young girl's struggle to find her place will inspire young readers to ask what it means to belong.

    Sequel to Fatty Legs.

$12.95

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Fatty Legs: A True Story
Traditional Territory: Inuit
Format: Paperback
, 2010
  • In 2011-2012, Fatty Legs: A True Story was the award recipient for First Nation Communities Read.

    The moving memoir of an Inuit girl who emerges from a residential school with her spirit intact.

    Eight-year-old Margaret Pokiak has set her sights on learning to read, even though it means leaving her village in the high Arctic. Faced with unceasing pressure, her father finally agrees to let her make the five-day journey to attend school, but he warns Margaret of the terrors of residential schools.

    At school Margaret soon encounters the Raven, a black-cloaked nun with a hooked nose and bony fingers that resemble claws. She immediately dislikes the strong-willed young Margaret. Intending to humiliate her, the heartless Raven gives gray stockings to all the girls, all except Margaret, who gets red ones. In an instant Margaret is the laughingstock of the entire school.

    In the face of such cruelty, Margaret refuses to be intimidated and bravely gets rid of the stockings. Although a sympathetic nun stands up for Margaret, in the end it is this brave young girl who gives the Raven a lesson in the power of human dignity.

    Complemented by archival photos from Margaret Pokiak-Fenton's collection and striking artworks from Liz Amini-Holmes, this inspiring first-person account of a plucky girl's determination to confront her tormentor will linger with young readers.

$12.95

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My Name is Seepeetza
Traditional Territory: Interior Salish
Format: Paperback
, 1992
  • Told in diary form, this autobiographical novel about a sixth-grade Native girl tells of her heartbreak at the terrible conditions at her school where she is persecuted because of her race.

$10.95

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Neekna and Chemai
Traditional Territory: Okanagan
Format: Paperback
, 2008
  • A story about two girls living in the Okanagan Valley before the arrival of the white man. An insight into customs and ways of the past.

$14.95

In Re-Print
No Time to Say Goodbye
Traditional Territory: Tsartlip
Format: Paperback
, 2001
  • Children’s Stories of Kuper Island Residential School
    with Rita Morris and Ann Sam

    No Time to Say Goodbye is a fictional account of five children sent to aboriginal boarding school, based on the recollections of a number of Tsartlip First Nations people. These unforgettable children are taken by government agents from Tsartlip Day School to live at Kuper Island Residential School. The five are isolated on the small island and life becomes regimented by the strict school routine. They experience the pain of homesickness and confusion while trying to adjust to a world completely different from their own. Their lives are no longer organized by fishing, hunting and family, but by bells, line-ups and chores. In spite of the harsh realities of the residential school, the children find adventure in escape, challenge in competition, and camaraderie with their fellow students.

$9.95

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Secret of the Dance
Traditional Territory: Kwakwaka'wakw
Format: Paperback
, 2006
  • "Many years ago, when the world and I were younger, my family defied the government."
    A boy will never forget witnessing a forbidden Potlatch.
    In 1935, a nine-year-old boy's family held a forbidden Potlatch in faraway Kingcome Inlet. Watl'kina slipped from his bed to bear witness. In the Big House masked figures danced by firelight to the beat of the drum. And there, he saw a figure he knew. Aboriginal elder Alfred Scow and award-winning author Andrea Spalding collaborate to tell the story, to tell the secret of the dance.

$9.95

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Shi-shi-etko
Traditional Territory: Interior Salish
Format: Hardcover
, 2010
  • In just four days Shi-shi-etko will have to leave her family and all that she knows to attend residential school. She spends her last days at home treasuring the beauty of her world. This gentle story of a child on the verge of great loss was selected as the Aboriginal Children’s Book of the Year.

$18.95

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Shin-chi's Canoe
Traditional Territory: Interior Salish
Format: Hardcover
, 2008
  • This moving sequel to the award-winning Shi-shi-etko tells the story of two children's experience at residential school. Shi-shi-etko is about to return for her second year, but this time her six-year-old brother, Shin-chi, is going, too. As they begin their journey in the back of a cattle truck, Shi-shi-etko takes it upon herself to tell her little brother all the things he must remember: the trees, the mountains, the rivers and the tug of the salmon when he and his dad pull in the fishing nets. Shin-chi knows he won't see his family again until the sockeye salmon return in the summertime.

    When they arrive at school, Shi-shi-etko gives him a tiny cedar canoe, a gift from their father. The children's time is filled with going to mass, school for half the day, and work the other half. The girls cook, clean and sew, while the boys work in the fields, in the woodshop and at the forge. Shin-chi is forever hungry and lonely, but, finally, the salmon swim up the river and the children return home for a joyful family reunion.

$18.95

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When I Was Eight
Traditional Territory: Inuit
Format: Paperback
, 2013
  • Nothing will stop a strong-minded young Inuit girl from learning how to read.

    Olemaun is eight and knows a lot of things. But she does not know how to read. She must travel to the outsiders' school to learn, ignoring her father's warning of what will happen there.

    The nuns at the school take her Inuit name and call her Margaret. They cut off her long hair and force her to do chores. She has only one thing left -- a book about a girl named Alice, who falls down a rabbit hole.

    Margaret's tenacious character draws the attention of a black-cloaked nun who tries to break her spirit at every turn. But she is more determined than ever to read.

    By the end, Margaret knows that, like Alice, she has traveled to a faraway land and stood against a tyrant, proving herself to be brave and clever.

    Based on the true story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, and complemented by stunning illustrations, When I Was Eight makes the bestselling Fatty Legs accessible to young children. Now they, too, can meet this remarkable girl who reminds us what power we hold when we can read.

$9.95

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