Residential Schools Poetry & Song

2023 Theme: 

Gidinawendimin / We Are All Related / Nous sommes tous liés

Connecting with Poetry

Grades 5 - 12 

 Schools have 2 poetry books, I Lost My Talk by Rita Joe and I'm Finding My Talk by Rebecca Thomas. This will be a great link from local to books in your school. See lesson plan here in English and in French for I Lost My Talk to use during Truth & Reconciliation Week.


I Lost My Talk is based on the poem by Mi'kmaw elder and poet Rita Joe, C.M. Rita Joe penned her poem to express not only the pain and suffering she experienced at Schubenacadie Residential School in Nova Scotia, but also her hope and conviction that her words could guide and inspire indigenous and non-indigenous peoples across Canada to journey to a place of strength and healing. 

I Lost My Talk by Rita Joe 


J'ai perdu mon parler


Voices From Here Video Series and Interactive Text

Books for the Classroom in All Schools

Use this folder for an updated and complete list and links to current resources in your school. 

Texts in Schools

The Secret Path

Gord Downie, the lead singer of the Canadian band,  The Tragically Hip, is bringing attention to one of the most haunting legacies in our country's history - the residential school system and the children and families who were affected by it all. Downie released a multimedia project called The Secret Path, which consists of an album with 10 new songs, and a graphic novel by Jeff Lemire. The project is devoted to sharing the story of 12 year old Chanie Wenjack, an Anishinabe boy who died from hunger and exposure after escaping from his residential school to try and find his way home. 

The Secret Path - CBC Arts

Rosanna Deerchild shares her mother's residential school story.

Logan Staats (Six Nations)- “Deadman” 

Mohawk Institute in Brantford Story & Imagery

"I wrote “Dead Man” while in rehab. It’s not about a girl. The culture is the love that I’m asking for. The love for myself. That was stolen from me - by the government, the crown, the church. When I sing “GIVE ME BACK MY LOVE”, I'm speaking about my culture, my pride, the love for myself.” - Logan Staats