Skip to main content

Increase Your Indigenous Literacy

Resources and information to increase knowledge, understanding and reflection on Canada’s history and present from an Indigenous viewpoint to expand “Indigenous literacy” (understanding the culture, context and rights of Indigenous people and the relationship of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples).

Survivors of the Canadian Residential School System recount their childhood experiences, and resources that share the Truth about Canada’s history.

Video

Bob Joseph provides a concise account of his experience at residential school and the importance of Truth and Reconciliation for all Canadians. Powerful and a must watch.

Podcast

A podcast featuring Dennis Saddleman, a residential school survivor who speaks about his experience at Kamloops residential school and shares poetry that helped him heal. (19 minutes)

Website

In this emotional film, the profound impact of the Canadian government's residential school system is shown through the eyes of two survivors who were forced to endure unimaginable hardships.

Website

Visit the Woodland Cultural Centre and learn about the Haudenosaunee People through innovative exhibitions and programs. Take a virtual tour of the Mohawk Residential School in Brantford.

Book

Shi-shi-etko is a young girl who has four days before she leaves home for residential school. Her family has many teachings to share with her about her culture and the land. Children’s book ages 4-8.

Book

The sequel to Shi-shi-etko. This award winning book tells the story of 6 year old Shin Chi as he heads to residential school for the first time. Children’s book ages 4-8.

Book

Ten year old Agatha explains her childhood experiences at the Residential schools in a trio of stories by beloved Inuit author Michael Kusagak. Children’s book ages 4-8.

Book

An elderly Kookum (grandmother) recounts her experiences at residential school – a time that changed her forever. The book has been described as running parallel to the book The Wizard of Oz. Children’s book ages 9-12.

Book

A young Inuit girl wants to learn to read so badly she is willing to leave home for residential school. When she arrives, a mean-spirited nun is intent on making her time at school difficult. Children’s book ages 9 -12.

Book

A sequel to Fatty Legs. After returning home from residential school, Margaret moves through feelings of rejection as she tries to reconnect with her family, language and culture. Children’s book ages 9-12.

Book

Cree author, Larry Loyie writes about his last summer with his family before going to residential school. He highlights how his education at home was disrupted by the residential school system. Children’s book ages 9-12.

Child and youth centered resources that shed light on many aspects of Indigenous people’s history.

Journal

Published by the First Nations Caring Society, and an excellent resource for those working with Indigenous children and families. Peer-reviewed and archives available.

PDF

This handbook describes how Traditional Indigenous games can be utilized in the modern classroom for all learners.

Video

The Secret Path tells the story of Chanie Wenjack. Check out what a Legacy School means for you. Also watch the documentary by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire.

Book

Author Wab Kinew’s brightly illustrated picture book highlights 14 Indigenous role models. Children’s Book: Girls 2-6.

Book

Well known author Monique Gray-Smith pens a beautiful early years book about what makes us happy and brings us joy. Children’s Book: pre-school to K.

Book

Beautiful book about friendship and kindness. Available in Plains Cree (y dialect) and English. Children’s Book: Preschool to K.

Book

Respecting the gift of water is one of the first teachings. This books explores water and its importance in our lives. Written from an Anishnawbe perspective. Children’s book: Preschool to K.

PDF

This PDF is a youth friendly guide to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada 94 Calls to Action.

Video

A broadcast of remote First Nations youth in Ontario. To finish high school they have to leave home which means opening up themselves to potential racist abuse.

Video

Cindy Blackstock tells the story of the fight against racial discrimination of little children by the Canadian government.

Video

Documentary about 13 year-old Shannen Koostachin, a young Cree woman from Attawapiskat, Ontario, who led the largest, youth driven human rights movement in the country’s history. For youth and adults.

Website

An Indigenous national charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Metis and Inuit Peoples.

Podcast

Youth led podcast focused on learning about Indigenous matters in Canada and addressing harmful stereotypes. Knowledge keepers, elders, and researchers are interviewed.

Video

A video to support families, caregivers, educators to have difficult conversations with children about Residential schools. See other excellent videos by award winning author Monique Gray-Smith.

Book

A time travel story that mixes two time periods as seen through the eyes of a young teen named Echo. Echo hears the story about the Pemmican Wars in history class and is transported to that time period.

Helpful resources for understanding and learning Indigenous languages.

Website

Comprehensive overview of the 70 distinct Indigenous language groups across Canada. Includes great videos to enhance your understanding.

Website

Beginner to advanced lessons. Assists with pronunciations. Songs, stories, and additional resources included.

Video

Short video that provides the pronunciation of First Nations followed by description of name. Excellent information.

Website

A short article on the importance of Indigenous language and its importance to Indigenous Culture and Identity.

Website

Learn Anishnaabe and Mohawk language classes through live zoom meetings.

App

Developed by Six Nations Polytech; learn the Mohawk language through quizzes, and games.

App

Learn the language of the Metis.

Resources to increase and enhance your knowledge of Truth and Reconciliation in Canada.

Video

Bob Joseph provides a concise account of his experience at residential school and the importance of Truth and Reconciliation for all Canadians. Powerful and a must watch.

Book

Bob and Cynthia Joseph provides an excellent resource to assist all Canadians and organizations on effective steps to move Truth and Reconciliation forward. A must read.

Website

Non-profit organization dedicated to Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. Education resources, merchandise, and events highlighted.

Video

Video on why Indigenous history must not be forgotten. Answers the question, “Why can’t you people just get over it?” (5 minutes).

Video

Video on Truth and Reconciliation related to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. (7 minutes).

Website

Information on education from an Indigenous perspective.

Book

This book is an essential read for those interested in Indigenous history and contemporary politics in what is now Canada. An excellent book by Chelsea Vowel.

Book

For teachers looking for a culturally relevant and holistic approach to residential school history that facilitates relationship building and promotes ways to engage in reconciliation activities. Book for grades K-12.

Website

A reflection on what Canada Day means for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Website

This link allows full public access to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reports – 6 volumes in total. This is a great place to start learning more about Truth and Reconciliation in Canada.

Website

Canada’s permanent home for all records, statements, and works related to the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions work.

Website

Federal Government of Canada’s Interim report on Council for Reconciliation.

Website

Privy Council’s commitment to Indigenous representation in the Public Service. Report available on website titled “Many Voices, One Mind…Pathways to Reconciliation”.

Website

2019 Budget Highlights – Indigenous and Northern Investments.

Website

Ontario governments statement on commitment to Reconciliation.

Website

2017 Report on progress of Reconciliation.

PDF

Ministry of Education’s framework document on Indigenous education.

Blog

Student blog regarding Indigenous peoples and health.

Website

National Indigenous youth lead organization dedicated to Reconciliation.

Website

Cindy Blackstock leads this national organization that stands for First Nations youth.  Website contains numerous resources.  The First Nations Caring Society has Touchstones for Hope reconciliation workshops.

Website

Comprehensive site with numerous resources and toolkits regarding Reconciliation.

Document

Big Cities Mayors’ Response to the Calls to Action. Must request access to document.

Website

Comprehensive site dedicated to Indigenous education. Hosted by First Nations University of Canada. Includes research portal.

Website

Robust resources on Reconciliation activities in Saskatchewan. Excellent resources on treaties.

Video

Senator Murray Sinclair interview regarding how Canadians impart the 94 Calls to Action.

Website

Youth movement committed to diversity and reconciliation in Canada.

Document

This 2019 research jointly sponsored with Canadian Roots Exchange and MasterCard Foundation provides insight into youth attitudes towards Reconciliation in Canada.

Website

Thought provoking article using Bene Brown’s Trust Framework to discuss Truth and Reconciliation.

Video

Survivors share their stories.

Website

A remarkable collection of reclaimed objects from Residential schools; each tells a story of the survivors.

Book

Artist, Cary Newman and writer, Kirstie Hudson tell the story of the Witness Blanket for all to bear witness to the atrocities of the residential school policy. This book is for purchase.

Video

The historic case of the Assembly of First Nations taking legal action against the Government of Canada on behalf of the rights of Indigenous children. This video is for purchase.

Learn more about Indigenous history and culture in Canada.

Book

An essential resource to understand the intent and repercussion of the Indian Act on Indigenous people in Canada.

Blog

Bob Joseph has an excellent blog on a variety of topics. A must follow!

Website

Online and in person workshops. Website promotes four films on reconciliation.

Website

A Cultural Perspectives Training course to help organizations increase cultural competence and develop actionable ideas to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

Website

Increase your understanding of Indigenous Cultural Safety with a series of webinars.

Book

An introductory book on the history of the Indian Act, colonialism, and cultural teachings of the Anishnaabe Peoples in the Greater Sudbury and Manitoulin area. Written by Susan Manitowabi.

Book

Practical tools that will help you respectfully avoid missteps in your business interactions and personal relationships with Indigenous Peoples.

PDF

This article gives an overview of the “Indian Policy”, cultural genocide, how Indigenous Peoples are defined by the government and its impact on cultural identity.

Book

This reference book is essential for all people writing about Indigenous people.  It provides incredible insight into proper terms and word use complete with case studies.

Website

Series of dialogs/forums concerned with Indigenous ways of knowing and western thought. A powerhouse of resource people is included in these dialogs.

Course

Recently promoted by actor Daniel Levy, this course is offered through the University of Alberta. Free or fee for certificate options. 12 week commitment of 2-3 hours per week.  An excellent start to increasing your Indigenous literacy.

Article

Excellent article touching on the origins of cultural safety, and how it relates to cultural awareness. An important read for those working in human services.

Video

The Indigenous Students Health Sciences Office at McMaster has a fantastic series of teachings by Elders.

Book

Tanya Talaga delves into the lives of seven Indigenous students who died while attending high school in Thunder Bay.

Video

A documentary by Alex William illuminates Canada’s hidden history of racial segregation. For over 60 years, the Canadian government denied many Indigenous People the basic freedom to leave their reserves. 50:12 minutes.

Video

A documentary by comedian Ryan McMahon on the effect of colonization of First Nations Peoples. 45 mins.

Podcast

A selection of podcasts on various topics facing Indigenous Peoples today. Hosted by Matika Wilbur and Adrienne Keene.

Video

Learn the value of traditional medicines, cooking recipes and other important teachings by Elder Bertha Skye of Six Nations. Search many other videos by her on YouTube.

Website

The Kairos Blanket Exercise is a powerful, participatory workshop designed to engage participants in learning the history of Canada.

Website

Online and in person workshops. Website promotes four films on reconciliation.

Video

Professional lacrosse player Cody Jamieson shares his journey with Oakville Public Library as an Indigenous athlete and mentor in his community.

Website

In person reconciliation training sessions for those working with children and youth.

Website

Module based in-person cultural competency training sessions.

Website

British Columbia based organization provides on-line cultural competency training.

Blog

Things that keep me awake. Blog postings by Senator Murray Sinclair, Chief Commissioner of the TRC.

Blog

Thought provoking blog on Indigenous child rearing, kinship, and colonization.

Video

A must watch on the 1985 constitutional talks…you will be surprised at what you see. This video is for purchase.

Video

Continuation of the 1985 constitutional talks…you will be surprised at what you see. This video is for purchase.

Video

The late Metis Leader Jim Sinclair’s speech on Indigenous right during the 1985 constitutional talks.

Video

The late Metis Leader Jim Sinclair’s closing comments at the 1985 constitutional talks… powerful.

Video

Siblings separated during the ‘60s Scoop are reunited after decades apart.

Blog

Indigenous female photographers sharing their views on a variety of subjects.

Blog

Thought provoking blog on Indigenous child rearing, kinship, and colonization.

Blog

Satirical take on headline news. Extremely funny but not for the easily offended.

Concrete examples of Indigenous Land Acknowledgements. Resources on how to determine territorial lands.

Blog

Grade 10 student, Angela G, shares her personal learning experience and thoughts on Land Acknowledgements. A YouTube video is included.

Video

Concise Land Acknowledgement specific to the Halton Region and developed by Halton District School Board.

Video

Concise Land Acknowledgement specific to the Halton Region and developed by Halton Catholic District School Board.

Video

Concise Land Acknowledgement specific to the Halton Region and developed by Halton Catholic District School Board.

Video

1 minute radio announcement of Chief Laforme of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

Website

Excellent resource on treaties in Halton area. Sample land acknowledgements provided.

Video

2:45 min video on the key elements of a land acknowledgement.

Article

Short article that provides perspective on why we are called to do a land acknowledgement.

Blog

Federal government’s blog on when and how to do a land acknowledgement throughout Canada.

Website

A good resource for identifying which Indigenous Nation resides/resided there.

Video

OKN Indigenous Lead, Angela Bellegarde and Marcus Logan of the Oakville Public Library discuss the how and why of territorial acknowledgements. The video was produced by Town of Oakville Recreation staff.

Video

Satirical video on how not to do a Territorial Announcement.

Website

Map indicating treaty lands and traditional territories of Canada’s Indigenous peoples. Also provides a guide on conducting a territorial announcement.

Document

Brief introduction to conducting a land acknowledgement, template, and list of traditional lands.

Website

Canadian wide guide to conducting a land acknowledgement.

App

Using GIS technology, this app helps users to identify which treaty territory, and/or traditional territory they are on by inputting user’s location. Video Examples of Territorial Announcements.

Blog

Chelsea Vowel unpacks the territorial acknowledgment in this thought provoking article.

Resources that highlight Indigenous innovators in Canada.

Website

Organization building capacity in Indigenous communities to train and deliver software testing. Innovative thinking!

Website

The works of celebrated architect Douglas Cardinal who sees the world through Indigenous eyes. Designer of numerous buildings including the Canadian Museum of History.

TEDx Talk

Jeff Ward talks about Indigenous innovations, inventions and seeing the world through an Indigenous lens.

Website

Celebrates global Indigenous people making a difference in their community. Links to podcast.

Website

Unique digital agency devoted to Indigenous innovation. A certified B Company, Animikii is an example of social innovation in action.

Website

Dr. Melanie Goodchild heads this start up research institute out of the University of Waterloo in Ontario.

Resources on developing and including Indigenous people in Canada’s economy.

Website

Non-profit organization dedicated to building excellence in Finance, Management, and Governance in Indigenous communities.

Website

Organization dedicated to responsible investment that moves Call to Action 92 forward. Research and educational material available on website.

Website

The Canadian Human Rights Commission has published a fact sheet to assist those organizations collecting Equal Employment information about their employees.

Website

Founded in 1996 in response to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal peoples, Indigenous Works has been a leader in assisting organizations to be the employer of choice for Indigenous employment seekers.

Website

CCAB has a significant history in Canada promoting Indigenous businesses in Canada. Provides ideas on how to enhance supply chain and offers education seminars.

Website

Comprehensive resource dedicated to Indigenous economic development in Canada.

Blog

Excellent information on current topics as it relates to Indigenous relations in Canada.