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Residential schools

​​Note: The information and material here may trigger unpleasant feelings or thoughts of past abuse. ​Please contact the 24 Hour Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419 if you require emotional support.​​​​​​

What is the Residential Schools Program?

The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program provides mental health and emotional supports to eligible former Indian Residential School students and their families before, during and after their participation in Settlement Agreement processes, including:

• Common Experience Payments,
• The Independent Assessment Process,
•​ Truth and Reconciliation Commission events and Commemoration activities.​

Why is this Important?

Indian Residential Schools did tremendous harm to First Nations in Canada. Helping people heal from the damage is critically important for individuals, families, communities and Nations. The effects from the abuse suffered in these schools continues to affect First Nations through what is called an intergenerational effect – essentially the harm caused to students affects families and communities.

Indian Residential Schools were created by the federal government and operated by Churches for more than a hundred years. The schools were designed to assimilate First Nations and caused serious harm to children, communities and Nations through forced assimilation and abuse (physical, mental, and sexual). Children were forcibly removed from communities by the RCMP. At school children were punished for speaking their language, even when unilingual. Mortality rates were between 40-60% during the early period. 

Making the Residential School Program yours.

Ensure that eligible former students of Indian Residential schools, and their families, have access to an appropriate level of mental health, emotional and cultural support services so that they may safely address a broad spectrum of mental wellness issues related to their experience of Indian Residential Schools. Services are offered In a holistic manner, cultural and emotional support is offered through either a Cultural Support Worker or an Residential School Health Support Worker please call toll free 1-877-477-0775.​​

Cultural Support

Cultural supports are provided by local First Nations organizations that coordinate the services of Elders and/or traditional healers. Cultural supports seek to assist students and their families to safely address issues related to the legacy of Indian Residential Schools as well as the disclosure of abuse during the Settlement Agreement process. Specific services are determined by the needs of the individual and include dialogue, ceremonies, prayers, or traditional healing.​

Emotional Support

Services are provided by local First Nations organizations and are designed to help former students and their families safely address issues related to the legacy of Indian Residential Schools as well as the disclosure of abuse during the Settlement Agreement process. An Aboriginal mental health worker will listen, talk and guide former students and their family members through all phases of the Settlement Agreement process.

Professional Counselling

Professional counsellors are psychologists and social workers that are registered with the First Nations Health Authority and have experience working with Aboriginal people. A professional counsellor will listen, talk, and assist former students to find ways of healing from Indian Residential Schools experiences.

To follow the counseling aspect of the program, please call toll free 1-877-477-0775 to request a counselor


Assistance with the costs of transportation are provided related to accessing professional counselling services. Guidelines around transportation are FNHA Health Benefits travel policies.

Funding support for transportation purposes to access counseling services may be available by calling toll free 1-877-0775

​What to Expect in the Future

The program will continue in much the same way as it did before transfer. While some programs may receive changes in the short term, the majority of FNHA programs will remain in place while the engagement and planning cycle provides opportunity for First Nations leaders to provide advice and guidance on programs and policies.


Assembly of First Nations – Indian Residential Schools:

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: (Closing Cermony to be held in Ottawa on May 31- June 3, 2015)

Reconciliation Canada: History and Background:

University of British Columbia – Indian Residential School Initiative:

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (Formerly known as Indian and Northern Affairs) – Indian Residential Schools:

Indian Residential Schools Settlement – Official Court Website: (Education credit deadline extended to March 9, 2015)

The Independent Assessment Process -​ or call the Indian Residential School Adjudication Secretariat 1-877-635-2648 for more information about the IAP.

Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat at toll free: 1-877-635-2648 -​​

National Indian Residential School Crisis Line 1-866-925-4419

The National Indian Residential School Crisis line has been set up to provide support for former Residential School students. You can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling 24-hour National Crisis line. ​

Find out more about the FNHA's relationship to the Indian Residential School Support Program here​.


For More information or to learn more about the Residential Schools program please contact:

Michael Simpson

Program Consultant, Indian Residential School Program 

604-699-3109 or 

FNHA Indian Residential Schools information line:
1-877-477-0775 ​



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