UM Today UM Today University of Manitoba UM Today UM Today UM Today
News from
UM Today Network
Survivor flag at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

Introducing Residential Schools 101

New NCTR workshops engage learners on residential school history and legacy

March 18, 2024 — 

Over the past seven months, Sandra Bender has delivered more than seven dozen presentations on the residential school system and its legacy. 

Headshot photo of a blonde woman who is smiling and looking at the camera.

Sandra Bender, Community Engagement and Education Program Coordinator, NCTR

As the community engagement and education program coordinator at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), Bender has seen a growing demand for presentations on the topic. As a result, the NCTR team is now offering free monthly Residential School History and Legacy 101 webinars on an ongoing basis. 

“Getting the education out there is the truth side of reconciliation,” she says. “People need to understand the full truth before they can understand what needs reconciling.” 

Open to all, the webinars address topics relevant to people who are already familiar with residential schools and those completely new to the subject matter.  

“I do a lot of guest lecturing, especially at the University of Manitoba, and there are international students or recent immigrants who are hearing about [residential schools] for the first time,” says Bender. “These webinars are meant to be accessible for people coming in at the ground level, but interesting enough to keep people engaged who know a bit more about the history.” 

Bender, along with Kaila Johnston, NCTR director of education, outreach and public programming, engage with audiences from corporate groups to government sectors, universities to schools, professional associations to churches. Sessions cover relevant topics, associated Calls to Action and practical, meaningful steps each group can take to advance their reconciliation efforts. 

“I can say: Start here. If there’s a particular issue that grabs your interest, here are things you can do about it—join a cause; write to a politician; or, at the very least, wear an orange shirt or call Bishop Grandin by its new name [Abinojii Mikanah].” As an ally who works closely with Indigenous community members at NCTR, Bender brings a unique perspective to the presentations.  

“I’m aware that it’s all the more important, as someone who is not [Indigenous], to get it right,” she says. “I’m constantly trying to deepen my own learning and understanding and the specific nuances of how I’m teaching this material and handling these stories to ensure…as much respect and care and gentleness, where that’s needed, as possible.” 

The next Residential School History and Legacy 101 workshop takes place on March 18 at 7 p.m. CST. Upcoming dates can be found the Indigenous Events Calendar. While the workshops are free, participants are welcome to make a donation to the NCTR. 

Follow the NCTR social media channels for upcoming workshop dates, as well as other educational opportunities and events. 

, , ,

© University of Manitoba • Winnipeg, Manitoba • Canada • R3T 2N2

Emergency: 204-474-9341