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Truth and Reconciliation in Canadian Schools

By Pamela Rose Toulouse
Imprint: Portage & Main Press

Categories: Education, Professional Development, Multicultural Education, Arts & Humanities, Social Science, Indigenous Studies
Paperback : 9781553797456, 147 pages, January 2018
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781553797463, 147 pages, March 2018
Ebook (PDF) : 9781553797678, 147 pages, March 2018

Table of contents

  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments  vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi

PART 1: Program Foundations 1

  • Introduction to Part 1: Program Foundations 3
  • Chapter 1 Residential Schools Legacy 5
  • Introduction 5
  • Education in Traditional Indigenous Societies 7
  • A History of Residential Schools in Photographs 9
  • Why Literacy Is an Ideal Approach to Teaching About Residential Schools 12
  • Reconciliation Activities 15
  • Conclusion 16

Chapter 2 Indigenous Peoples of Canada 17

  • Introduction 17
  • Traditional Values vs Technological Values 20
  • The Indian Act of 1876 21
  • What I Know About First Nations 22
  • What I Know About the Inuit 24
  • What I Know About the Métis 25
  • Why The Arts Are an Ideal Approach to Teaching About the Indigenous Peoples of Canada 27
  • Conclusion 29

Chapter 3 Treaties of Canada 30

  • Introduction 30
  • Differing Views on Treaties 32
  • Summary of Select Treaties and Relevant Acts 32
  • Wampum Belts, Sacred Scrolls, Artifacts, and Oral History 39
    • Wampum Belts 39
    • Sacred Scrolls 40
    • Petroglyphs and Pictographs 41
  • Why Social Studies, History, Geography, and Canadian and World Studies Are an Ideal Approach to Teaching About Treaties 42
  • Conclusion 44

Chapter 4 Contributions of Indigenous Peoples 45

  • Introduction 45
  • Turtle Island and Indigenous Traditional Lands 46
  • Specific Contributions of First Nation, Inuit, and Métis Peoples 48
    • First Nations 48
    • Inuit 50
    • Métis 51
    • Anishinaabek, Mushkegowuk, and Haudenosaunee Contributions 52
  • Why Science Is an Ideal Approach to Teaching About Indigenous Contributions 54
  • Conclusion 57

Chapter 5 Sacred Circle Teachings 58

  • Introduction 58
  • The Teachings of the Sacred Circle59
    • Teachings from the East 60
    • Teachings from the South 61
    • Teachings from the West 62
    • Teachings from the North 63
  • Seven Living Teachings 64
  • Why Health and Physical Education Is an Ideal Approach to Teaching About the Sacred Circle 67
  • Conclusion 70

PART 2: Truth and Reconciliation Lesson Plans By Grade 71

  • Introduction to Part 2: Lesson Format and Scope/Sequence 73
  • Scope/Sequence of Lessons 74
  • Kindergarten – Mother Earth 75
  • Grade 1 – First Nations 80
  • Grade 2 – Métis 85
  • Grade 3 – Inuit 90
  • Grade 4 – Contributions 95
  • Grade 5 – Treaties 101
  • Grade 6 – Residential Schools 107
  • Grade 7 – Blanket Exercise 112
  • Grade 8 – National Celebrations 117
  • Grade 9 – Making a Difference 122
  • Grade 10 – Project of Heart 127
  • Grade 11 – No More Stolen Sisters 133
  • Grade 12 – Moving Beyond Acknowledgments and Apologies 139
  • References 144
  • Image Credits 147


In this book, author Pamela Rose Toulouse provides current information, personal insights, authentic resources, interactive strategies and lesson plans that support Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners in the classroom. This book is for all teachers that are looking for ways to respectfully infuse residential school history, treaty education, Indigenous contributions, First Nations/Métis/Inuit perspectives and sacred circle teachings into their subjects and courses. The author presents a culturally relevant and holistic approach that facilitates relationship building and promotes ways to engage in reconciliation activities.


Every educator in Canada needs to know what is in this book. In our national and global call to truth and reconciliation action, Toulouse has written an essential resource to teaching and learning about Indigenous history, knowledge, culture, and contributions. Her text moves “beyond acknowledgements and apologies” to restorative education about, and with, Indigenous peoples. In well-organized, clear language, Toulouse maps, scaffolds, and guides important First Nations concepts and methods for meaningful teaching and learning.

Leah Fowler, Education Canada Magazine

As part of my professional training, I participated with my whole school staff in the "Blanket Exercise" (grade 7 lesson) facilitated by the board consultant for Indigenous Studies. As we gained knowledge of the diminishing land rights of Indigenous peoples, teachers were visibly moved by the scope of colonization that has taken place.
[The author's] background and teaching experience provide the insight, knowledge and expertise to make this a valuable text for both the novice and experienced teacher.

Kent Miller, Canadian Teacher Magazine

Well-organized, written in an accessible language and connected to the curriculum. ..a must-read for all teachers.

Rabia Khokhar, ETFO Voice

Highly recommended for the professional teaching resource collections of school libraries and school board resource libraries, and as a teaching resource for teachers of all subject areas, from K-12. Purchase more than one copy for your school library and find ways to promote it to teachers in your school.

Highly Recommended.

Joanne Peters, CM Magazine

Highly recommended for teachers beginning their journey to provide education for reconciliation. The curricular connections throughout–not limited to English and social studies–are valuable, highlighting the many ways Indigenous worldviews can be seamlessly integrated into teaching and learning. Dr. Toulouse’s must-read Truth and Reconciliation in Canadian Schools equips teachers with the knowledge and tools to begin or to fine-tune their teaching about Indigenous peoples, residential schools, and contemporary issues.

Jon Sorokowski, Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg