Featured Courses

Featured Courses

Writing Lives: The Residential School Survivor Memoir Project



English 2237 is the first part of a two-semester, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study the literature and history of the residential school system in Canada, and to meet with Survivors of IRS, ultimately collaborating with them to write their memoir. In this first semester, students will study relevant literature and historical documents that contextualize the history of contact and colonization. They will hear from guest speakers, likely partake in at least one field trip, and will acquire the knowledge and sensitivity that will enable them to move onto the second semester when they will meet and work with IRS Survivors. 


Experience the life and mind-changing power of story as you meet several times with Survivors of residential schools and collaborate on writing their memoir. Students will learn interviewing and memoir-writing skills, and will participate in a closing ceremony to honour the Survivors and to share with them the completed memoir.

View photos from the 2023 closing ceremony.

This course is part of the Writing Lives series, in partnership with the Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS).

What students are saying:

"The Writing Lives course provided a thought-provoking, impactful personal experience. Once I gained the trust of the Survivors, they generously shared their memories and life stories. I had the honour of documenting their lives and amplifying their voices in their memoirs. By engaging empathetically, I established a genuine, meaningful relationship with each Elder, which I will forever cherish." – Melissa Halford, former Writing Lives student

"Stories are the most important thing we have. When we have left this earth, all we will be remembered for is the story we left behind. Whether it is a family anecdote or a chapter in history, other people carry us, and they carry us through story. 

History is written and told about those who are remembered. Remembering is political: colonial powers have tried to erase the stories of Indigenous peoples for centuries, and tried to have their histories forgotten. Erasure has come in various forms: murder, forced sterilization, the Indian Act, residential schools, foster care, prisons, police abuse, theft of resources, chronic underfunding, and intentional obfuscation of history. 

As citizens of 'Canada' and settlers on Turtle Island, we have a moral duty to remember the real history of this place. We have the privilege of knowing what has happened here, and we have the privilege of still having witnesses and survivors alive with us. The stories of our Elders deserve to be remembered. We must honour Indigenous truths just as we honour colonial ones.

We are writing not only lives; we are writing history." – former Writing Lives student 

Registration for the Fall 2024 semester opens June 17

Register here.

For more information, please contact Jill Goldberg at jgoldberg@langara.ca.