TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION IN CANADIAN SCHOOLS, by Pamela Rose Toulouse, Portage and Main Press


In this book, author Pamela 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 Nation/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.

approx. 200 pages

Out January 2018


I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

This book focuses on Indigenous people living in Canada, First Nations, Metis, and Inuit. Included are discussions pertaining to culture and contributions made by each.

The approach to teaching Indigenous children K-12 is discussed offering strong how-to suggestions for incorporating Indigenous teachings into general studies. There is also a section addressing topics such as residential schools.

I found this book very enlightening. Indigenous people were present in Canada long before the arrival of the French, British and other immigrants and their established culture should be celebrated.  I’ve always had issues with other cultures imposing their beliefs on another and how instead, we should celebrate our differences and appreciate each other for them. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case with how Indigenous people have been treated, especially in the educational system.  There is much to gain from old cultural values and traditions.

The author uses her own past experiences to guide her writing in this book.  It is full of wonderful ideas and suggestions for approaching newer teaching methods by including older traditions and beliefs. There is also a section that addresses Residential schools and what they did to the Indigenous people. This was not a proud moment for Canada.

Residential schools throughout history clearly had no understanding of what being part of the First Nations, etc. meant. Judgmental and often brutal treatment of the Indigenous children just because of who they were caused lasting psychological damage and emotional scars. Some children attended these schools to learn how to read and write English. Instead, the structure of the school systems was about bending children to conform to their religious beliefs and ways of life.  Children were often forced to work, scrubbing floors or tending to gardens. They were humiliated and ridiculed for being ‘different.’ Nuns thought them barbarians and unintelligent. Abuse was present and condemnation for their culture and traditions was often shoved down their throats just for being Indigenous. It was horrific. Now, there’s an aftermath that needs to be addressed, healing of spirit that must occur if people are to move on.

This book is both a history book reflecting on a system that didn’t work and an educational reference for teachers teaching Indigenous children.

Contents of The Book:

  1. Acknowledgments
  2. Preface
  3. Introduction

Part 1: Program Foundations

  • Chapter One: Residential Schools Legacy
  • Chapter Two: Indigenous Peoples of Canada
  • Chapter Three: Treaties of Canada
  • Chapter Four: Contributions of Indigenous People
  • Chapter Five: Sacred Circle Teachings

Part 2: Truth and Reconciliation Lesson Plans By Grade

  1. Introduction to Part Two: Lesson Format and Scope/Sequence
  2. Scope/Sequence of Lessons
  3. Kindergarten – Mother Earth
  4. Grade 1 – First Nations
  5. Grade 2 – Metis
  6. Grade 3 – Inuit
  7. Grade 4 – Contributions
  8. Grade 5 – Treaties
  9. Grade 6 – Residential Schools
  10. Grade 7 – Blanket Exercise
  11. Grade 8 – National Celebrations
  12. Grade 9 – Making a Difference
  13. Grade 10 – Project of Heart
  14. Grade 11 – No More Stolen Sisters
  15. Grade 12 – Moving Beyond Acknowledgments and Apologies


Image Credits

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