Against the Grain – The Legacy of the Indian Residential School System

This film explores the legacy of the Indian Residential School system by looking at its history, present conditions and hopes for the future.

It focuses on the varying social and political challenges facing former students, their families and communities, and highlights various attempts to cope and overcome the impacts.

Creative team

Writer/director/producer: Curtis Mandeville
Producer: Eileen McCord

Director’s statement

Curtis Mandeville says:

“I am Metis. I grew up in a small northern Aboriginal community. Through life experience I got the sense that not many people understand how significant the impact of Indian Residential Schools was and continues to be on Canada’s Aboriginal peoples.

Most of my family attended Indian Residential Schools. However, I was not even aware of the impact, or how I was impacted, until I started researching and asking some of my family about their experiences.

This experience, and the realization that probably most Canadians are not aware, has inspired me to tell a very important story about Canada’s history. A story that I hope will help educate the public and bring to light the long-lasting effects of Indian Residential Schools.

Furthermore, I hope this video helps in the much-needed healing process.”

About Curtis Mandeville


Curtis Mandeville is a Metis born in Hay River, Northwest Territories and raised in Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories.

He obtained his bachelor of arts degree majoring in sociology from the University of British Columbia in the fall of 2008.

Curtis completed the radio, broadcast news and television program majoring in television at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. Currently, he lives with his young family of four with two children in Yellowknife, NWT.

Curtis aspires to write, produce and direct thought-provoking films and documentaries on social and environmental issues.


  1. Sarah

    thank you for this i am 30 years old and only ever heard of this genocide a few months ago. I am just in shock and shame. These stories need to be in our history books.

  2. Thank you so much for posting this and making it accessible! I will be showing it to my high school classes.

  3. intergenerational victim

    It was more then just “women” or “girls” that had been sexually abused. Men (boys) suffer just as much as the women. Not saying it that these children deserved the abuse that they had endured. But this topic is something that has finally been brought up that is long over due. It is totally true that the impact from the residential school is intergenerational. And they should also provide more councilors, or support systems for the youth today, especially the elders to help them heal and understand themselves again. Its something that definitely is needed as a requirement for highschool students. Or especially people who are new to Canada.

  4. White man

    Shut up Laurie

  5. Laurie

    There’s NO excuse for sexually rapping women. I don’t care if you were “raped by a priest” at a “residential school.” If you rape a woman, it’s your choice and it’s your fault and it’s YOUR crime! I wonder how much that rapist gets from the Canadian Government for his “rapist priest” fable. That little girl in Edmonton (Punky 1986-1992) was raped and killed by a Native, and it’s the residential schools fault that he did that too her!

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