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How to support survivors of residential schools

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TORONTO -

After the remains of 215 children were found on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., grief rippled through Indigenous communities across the country amid renewed calls for further investigations and government action.

Canadians can help residential school survivors by donating to Indigenous-led organizations and learn more about the legacy of the school system that saw the deaths of thousands of Indigenous children. Here are some ways to do that:

EDUCATION

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

Long before the horrifying discovery in Kamloops, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called upon the Canadian government to provide funding to locate the children who died in residential schools. This call to action was published in 2015.

Read the calls to action here.

Native Land

A good place to start educating yourself is finding out more about the land we now call Canada. There is an app that non-Indigenous Canadians can use to see whose territorial land they are on. They can use the interactive map to look up territoria, languages and treaties. Find out more about where you live here.

Indigenous Canada

The University of Alberta offers a free online 12-module course on Indigenous history and contemporary issues. The University says thousands of people enrolled when Canadian actor Dan Levy participated in 2020. The popular course, launched in 2017, is available online. Students can register here.

WHERE TO DONATE

Many Indigenous organizations that help residential school survivors could benefit from more donations. If you have the means to donate, here are a few to consider:

Indian Residential School Survivors Society

The Indian Residential School Survivors Society is a British Columbia-based organization that has been providing services to residential school survivors for over 20 years. It started out by helping residential school survivors navigate the court systems and has since expanded to help descendents of residential school survivors and engaging in community education for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. You can donate here

A helpline for residential school survivors can be reached at: 1-866-925-4419.

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation provides educational resources for Canadians to learn more about residential schools across the country. Donate here.

Legacy of Hope Foundation

The Legacy of Hope Foundation works to educate people on residential schools and the Sixties Scoop and the intergenerational impact that these traumatic events had on Indigenous people. You can find ways to donate here

Orange Shirt Society

Orange Shirt Society is a B.C.-based group that aims to educate people on intergenerational impacts of residential schools. It offers resources for teachers for Orange Shirt Day, held every year on Sept. 30. Donate here

Reconciliation Canada

Reconciliation Canada works to educate people about Indigenous life and history to teach non-Indigenous people about reconciliation and strengthening relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. You can donate here

First Nations Child and Family Caring Society

First Nations Child and Family Caring Society aims to provide quality education to First Nations youth and families. It aims to promote the rights of First Nations children and families. You can donate here

Canadian Roots Exchange

The Canadian Roots Exchange is a youth-led organization that aims to empower young Canadians to stand in solidarity with Indigenous people. Donate here. https://canadianroots.ca/monetary-donations/

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is an Ottawa-based organization aiming to improve the health and well-being of Inuit. Donate here

Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund

The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund works to provide education on the history of Indigenous people and the legacy of residential schools. Donate here

Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society

The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society works with residential school survivors and provides outreach and cultural support. They also provide a toll free line that Indigenous people in crisis or needing support can call at 1-888-403-3123. Donate here.

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