Shattering the Silence: The Hidden History of Indian Residential Schools in Saskatchewan

I believe that as future educators, it is important that we are continuously searching for and participating in professional development opportunities. Not only will this benefit us, but it will also benefit the learning, growth, and development of our future students. Over a short amount of time, classrooms and technology are constantly changing and the groups of students that we end up working with are never the same as another. With that, each class and each child have different needs and learn differently, therefore we must do our best as their teachers to accommodate their learning.

On the second week of ECS 100, we were asked as to why might understanding the history of education be important to consider and why we should care. Well, education has not always been as successful as it is now. In today’s education systems, we strive to ensure that each child is not only learning and developing cognitively, but also socially, culturally, physically, and emotionally in positive ways. Most teachers are also developing healthy relationships with their students, as well as their students’ families by getting to know them in more depth to gain a better understanding of how they can help their students reach their full potentials.

The reading of Shattering the Silence: History of Residential Schools in Saskatchewan, explains how much schooling has evolved for the better. The reading focuses on the residential school system and how much education has shifted from a prison-like place where children were brutally maltreated and abused to a place where children are safe, respected, and can honour their cultures and differences in positive ways.

Truth and reconciliation plays the most important role in starting a better future for not only our education system, but as well as our relationships with the Indigenous peoples. Through this reading and the knowledge I gained from the INDG 100 course I took last semester, I learned that reconciliation is not only stating an apology, but it is also putting effort into making a difference. This difference can be made by learning the truth about Canada’s past and speaking up about it. Before my post-secondary education, I never learned about residential schools or the oppression of the Indigenous peoples during colonization. When I look back at the history classes I have taken in both elementary and high school, they made the entire history sound perfect – which is not the case. I graduated high school in 2014, since then I have learned that they have started including teachings on residential schools in the school curriculum.

I believe that it is time that students learn the heartbreaking truth about residential schools and this can only be done if we, as future educators, learn more about it as well. Through this reading I learned that the University of Regina education program commits to an anti-oppressive education and takes pride in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. With that, I believe this is a great way to make a difference and help people understand Canada’s history and the history of education because it creates a good foundation of what we should be teaching. If we, as teachers, don’t learn about these topics, it would be impossible for us to teach them accurately, which then becomes a constant cycle.

The original peoples of the land we live on today suffered through residential schools and still suffer the life-long trauma today. “Silence, it is really deafening” (p. 5) This quotation stands out to me because it shows how if we do not speak out and encourage the learning of residential schools, treaties, and reconciliation, the worse the situation gets for not only the residential school survivors, but for their future generations and the future generations of Canadians, as well. Moreover, as future educators, we can use our platform to help the voices of the residential school survivors and the Indigenous peoples who have gone through and continue to go through oppression be heard.


Niessen, S. (n.d.). Shattering the Silence: The Hidden History of Indian Residential Schools in Saskatchewan. Regina, SK. 2017: University of Regina.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.