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Learning Commons Resources

HCOS Learning Commons Resources

How do I find resources on Indigenous Peoples on the Learning Commons website?

  • On the main menu find Resource -> Gr K-9 Resources Index.  Choose a grade level.


  • On each page you will find a breakdown of sub-topics including an Introduction, correlations, lesson plans and web links and thematic content related to the Indigenous calendar.

For more on how to discern conversations you may want to  watch this video by Monique Gray Smith as she shares applicable resources for different grade levels.

Learning Commons | Selected Books

These books have been selected as a conversation starter on the topic of Residential Schools

  • Primary (K-Grade 5): 

    •  Shi-shi-etco and Shin-chi’s Canoe are beautiful, award winning picture books written by  Nicola L. Campbell. They share the poignant journey of a young sister and brother as they prepare to leave their family and attend residential school.  

    • My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith.  This beautiful board book is for our littles to serve as a reminder to reflect on and cherish the  moments in life that bring us joy.

  • Middle School (Grade 6-9):  

    • When We Were Alone by David Roberston and Julie Flett. This lovely picture book captures the innocence and curiosity of a young Cree girl who notices the differences between her grandmother and herself.  As she asks questions her grandmother shares her experiences in a residential school when many of her traditional cultural symbols were removed.

    • Fatty Legs by Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton.  This powerful story is about an eight year old Inuvialuit girl standing up to the bullies while keeping her Inuit spirit intact. This takes place in a of a residential school in the far North. 

    • Dear Canada: These are my Words: The Residential School Diary of Violet Pesheens  Acclaimed author Ruby Slipperjack shares a haunting novel about a 12 - year old girl’s experience at a residential boarding school in 1966.  In her notebook she records all of her worries, heartbreaks, and memories. But maybe there is hope at the end of the tunnel!

    • My Name is Seepeetza by Shirley Sterling.  At six years old Seepeetza is taken from her happy family life to live as a boarder at the Kamloops Indian Residential school where she manages to find some bright spots to make her school life more bearable.

  • High School (Grades 9-12):

    • Speaking Our Truth by Monique Gray Smith.  Acclaimed Indigenous author Monique Gray Smith shares the stories of survivors and listens to allies who put the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into action.

    • Truth and Reconciliation in Canadian Schools by Pamela Rose Toulouse.  This book is for all teachers and families who are looking for ways to respectfully infuse residential school history, treaty education and Indigenous perspectives and contributions.  The author shares a holistic approach that facilitates relationship building

    • Every Child Matters Is an online event, open to all Canadian schools. 

    • The Truth About Stories by Thomas King.  Beginning with a traditional Native oral story, King weaves his way through literature and history, religion and politics, popular culture elucidating North America’s relationship with its Native Peoples.

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If you would prefer to hear about these resources in video format, join our HCOS staff member Denise McLaughlin for an overview. 

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