“Honouring our Ancestors: Remembering the Legacy of the Residential School System in Manitoba” is a book published by the Thompson Urban Aboriginal Strategy. The book was released on September 30, 2021, as a part of the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The purpose of the book is to help people learn more about the impact of the residential school system on Indigenous peoples living in Northern Manitoba. The goal is to help others learn more about past harms inflicted by the schools and to inspire readers to move forward with Indigenous peoples in the spirit of truth and reconciliation.

Melanie Ferris wrote the book. She attempted to include a variety of voices from citizens of Northern First Nations throughout the book. You can read some of the quotes from the book below.

The “Honouring our Ancestors” book includes information about:

  • How the government worked to control Indigenous peoples in Canada
  • What residential schools were
  • What the purposes of the schools was
  • What the residential schools were like
  • The outcome/legacy of the residential schools
  • Residential schools in Northern Manitoba
  • Northern survivors: First Nations that were impacted
  • Stories and quotes from Survivors and leaders
  • Resources to help you learn more about residential schools
  • The 94 Calls to Action: Truth & Reconciliation

You can download a free copy of the book here.

Excerpts from the book:


“The Thompson Urban Aboriginal Strategy Committee dedicates the book to Survivors of the residential school system along with the generations of family members who continue to be impacted by the legacy of the residential schools. We especially recognize the babies, children, and youth who will be responsible for carrying on much of the healing and reconciliation work that needs to take place for our Nations to fully heal from the genocide of residential schools.”

“The discipline was cruel for young children to comprehend. Scrubbing large bathroom floor stalls with toothbrushes until it was squeaky clean. Being told not to speak my Dene language was confusing because that was the only language I understood.”
~Survivor Bernice Thorassie, Sayisi Dene Denesuline Nation

“In the early years of the residential schools opening up, one of the ways that travel was done was through these bush planes as well as boats, canoes, and portaging through the bush. There are many modes of travel that they had, the train—the train is something that triggered my life many times, hearing the train whistle or trains horn or whatever you want to call it. The different modes of travel and one of them was the bush plane….

I’ve heard stories from my grandfather, my step grandfather, and my parents about how they were taken from their homes. The plane there is a sad reminder of the times they were disconnected from family for almost a year.

Some of them didn’t even come home, like my grandmother told me that she didn’t come home for eight years until she was 16 years old. When she came home, she didn’t know her language. She had to relearn her language and relearn her culture and her traditional ways.

Just seeing that plane floods your memory about many things, not only the fact about how you travelled from your home community. It floods the memory about many things that happened as a former student of these residential schools.”
~Survivor Caroline Ouskan, Tataskweyak Cree Nation

“As we honour our survivors, we also know that as investigations continue thousands more unmarked graves will be found, and we cannot allow Canada to simply ‘move on.’ The nation’s attention to the horror of residential schools must not be lost.”
~Chief Morris Beardy, Fox Lake Cree Nation

Photo by Kacper Antoszewski.

“My grandmother attended residential school and I know the impacts it has had on our family firsthand. I am proud of my grandmother for surviving 10 years in a residential school. For others who have a survivor in their family, I encourage you to recognize them for what they experienced. They are heroes. Let us not forget what happened to young Indigenous peoples across Canada. This is why we are working to overhaul the child welfare system and return children to our First Nations and their cultures. We still have a lot of work to do to heal from the intergenerational effects of the residential school system. We are strong people and we will continue to heal and build a brighter future for the generations of Indigenous children to come.”
~Grand Chief Garrison Settee, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak

“Healing will require a lot of hard conversations on both sides of the pain caused by residential institutions, and it needs to begin with listening to and acknowledging the cultures and experiences of Indigenous Peoples.”
~Dr. Stewart Hill, God’s Lake First Nation