• Indigenous Peoples and Boarding Schools: A Comparative Study, prepared by Andrea Smith for the Secretariat of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, E/C.19/2009/CRP.1 (Jan. 2009). This article provides a historical overview of boarding school policies directed at indigenous peoples throughout the world.  It profiles the policies, the experiences of indigenous children, their successes and failures, and their legacies today.  It then provides an overview of the current boarding, highlighting opportunities, good practices, and areas for concern.
  • Judicial Findings From The Inter-Tribal Tribunal on Residential Schools in Canada (Held June 12-14 in Vancouver, B.C.), by James M. Craven (July 1998). This three part series contains the thoughts of a tribunal judge involved in an attempt to gather information on Indian residential schools in Canada.  It begins with a discussion of indigenous restorative justice principles and concepts to guide his inquiry.  Then discusses errors that limited and compromised the work of the tribunal, making him unable to provide or endorse any definitive finds.  It concludes with some suggestions for future lines of inquiry and probable constraints and obstacles.Part 1 – Some Principles and Concepts of Aboriginal Life and Law Guiding My Inquiry and Findings The author explains indigenous principles and concepts of life and law that guide his inquiry and findings.  They are based on traditional indigenous restorative justice and involve the same principles used in peacemaking to achieve justice, healing, and reconciliation.Part 2 – Mission of the Tribunal: My Understanding The author reports on his understanding of the tribunal’s mission and issues with the tribunal that limited its ability to achieve that mission.Part 3 – On the Issue of Ethnocide Versus Genocide The author discusses the different terms used to describe the Residential School policy and the intent behind the policy.




  • Boarding School Stories. Cante Sica Foundation and the Autry National Center. Thirteen in-depth visual testimonies/oral histories of boarding school survivors and alumni.
  • American Holocaust: When It’s All Over I’ll Still Be Indian. This film places the boarding schools in their proper historical context, and starts the steps towards healing by telling U.S. Indian history as it has not been sanctioned yet outside of Indian Country. See especially the section on the boarding schools at about 11 minutes.
  • We Were Children. Aboriginal Public Television Network (Canada). From the trailer packaging: “As young children, Lyna and Glen were taken from their homes and placed in church-run boarding schools. The trauma of this experience was made worse by years of untold physical, sexual and emotional abuse, the effects of which persist in their adult lives. In this emotional film, the profound impact of the Canadian government’s residential school system is conveyed unflinchingly through the eyes of two children who were forced to face hardships beyond their years. We Were Children gives voice to a national tragedy and demonstrates the incredible resilience of the human spirit.”
  • Hunter Genia on the Generational Impacts of the Boarding School System. (2012) Hunter Genia, a well-respected member of the Saginaw Chippewa Wellness community, shares personal stories of his and his relatives’ experiences  being swept into the boarding school systems, and impacts from those experiences.
  • Schooling the World: The White Man’s Burden discusses the use of early education as the most effective tool to change native cultures worldwide. As the film states in ominous white text on black: “If you wanted to change an ancient culture in one generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children.”
  • Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee. This biography of Lakota woman Mary Crow Dog includes ample depiction of her early life at Boarding School.
  • A Century of Genocide in the Americas: A Residential School Experience. A short but powerful documentary about how Indian Residential Schools became a have for institutionalized sexual abuse.  Order the DVD by contacting rmgibbon at yahoo dot com. (Home use: $39.95 – Educational Use: $99.95;  All proceeds benefit the Boarding School Healing Project.)
  • The Thick Dark Fog tells the story of Walter Little Moon’s boarding school years and his recovery from the traumas of those years during his adulthood.
  • Indian School: A Survivor’s Story primarily focuses on testimony of survivors and descendants of survivors of boarding schools, with a special (but not exclusive) focus on the Mount Pleasant boarding school in Michigan. The stories tell of experiences and lasting results of boarding schools, and the film also provides some historical explanation of the schools. (see a library catalog record for this video)
  • Healing the Hurts (A healing process of cultural recovery from the traumatic experience of Indian boarding schools of the past).  Four Worlds International Institute for Human and Community Development. (2004)  From the liner: This hour-long video “documents the devastating effects of the Indian boarding schools that dramatically shattered aboriginal culture, children, families and communities throughout North America. Viewers join Native American participants from Canada and the United States, during a four-day culturally-based healing process for understanding and recovering from this type of traumatic experience.” (see a library catalog record for this video)

Children’s Books:

  • Cheyenne Again by Eve Bunting, Clarion Books, 1995. This is a children’s book with a frank discussion of what happened at the boarding schools. Kids can relate to the experience as expressed in this book.


Note: These links are provided for information and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.