Indian Residential Schools Program


About the Program
The Importance of the Program
Making the Program Yours
Support Organizations

​​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.

About the 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. The support is offered before, during and after their participation in Settlement Agreement processes and includes:

  • common experience payments
  • the independent assessment process
  • truth and reconciliation commission events and commemoration activities

The Importance of the Program

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 consequences of the abuse suffered in these schools continues to have an intergenerational effect – essentially, the harm caused to students affects First Nations families and communities over generations.

The schools, created by the federal government, were operated by churches for more than 100 years. They 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 it was the only language they knew. Mortality rates were between 40 and 60% in the schools' early years.

Making the Program Yours

The aim of the Residential Schools Program is to ensure that eligible former students of residential schools, and their families, have access to appropriate and safe mental health, emotional and cultural support.

Services are offered, using a wholistic approach, by a Cultural Support Worker or a Residential School Health Support Worker.

To request any of these services, please call toll free 1-877-477-0775.

Cultural Support

Cultural supports are provided by local First Nations organizations, which coordinate the services of Elders and traditional healers. The supports assist students and their families to safely address issues related to residential schools and with disclosure of abuse during the Settlement Agreement process. Services are based on individual needs and include dialogue, ceremonies, prayers and traditional healing.

Emotional Support

Services are provided by local First Nations organizations to help students and families address issues related to the schools and with disclosure of abuse during the Settlement Agreement process. An Aboriginal mental health worker will listen, talk and guide former students and family members through all phases of the Settlement Agreement process.

Professional Counselling

Professional counsellors are psychologists and social workers who are registered with the FNHA and have experience working with Aboriginal people. A professional counsellor will listen, talk and assist former students to find ways of healing from residential school experiences.


Assistance with transportation costs is provided to access professional counselling services. If you need travel assistance to access counselling, please contact the IRS Program (email:​; phone: 1-877-477-0775).​


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

Assembly of First Nations – Indian Residential Schools​

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

Indian Residential Schools Settlement Official Court Website: 

National Indian Residential School Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419This line has been set up to provide support, including emotional and crisis referrel, for former Residential School students.

Reconciliation Canada: History and Background: http://reconciliatio​

University of British Columbia – Indian Residential School Initiative:

Support Organizations

Adah Dene Cultural Healing Camp Society​

Margo Sagalon, Manager (Fort St. James),

250-996-5024, 250-996-3813

Tracey Charlebois,, 250-996-1475

Carrier Sekani Family Services

Marilyn Janzen, Health and Wellness Manager (Nadleh Whut'en Health Centre),, 250-690-7272

Mabel Louie, Executive Director,, 250-567-2900

Gitanyow Human Services


Erica Marsden, Health Director (Kitwanga),

Wanda Good, Project Manager,

Gitsxan Health Society


Annie Howard, Executive Director (Gitanmaax),

Ardythe Wilson, IRS Manager,

Nuu Chah Nulth Tribal Council


Vina Robinson, Manager (Port Alberni),

Kim Erickson, Acting Supervisor,

Indian Residential School Survivor Society


Angela White, Executive Director (Vancouver),

Okanagan Alliance

Jennifer Lewis, Wellness Manager (West​ Bank),, 250-707-0095

Ruby Peterson, IRS Lead,, 250-707-0095 ext. 229

Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society

Nola Jeffrey, Executive Director (Lantzville),, 250-390-3123

Dwanda Joseph, Program Director,, 250-927-0935


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