Knowledge Resources & Publications


Webinar - Pathways to Indigenous health - Truth before reconciliation: How to identify and confront residential school denialism

September 2023

This webinar recording may be triggering for some viewers as it deals with residential schools, systemic and structural modes of oppression, as well as violence against children. If you require emotional support, please reach out to the 24-hour Residental School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419 or the Hope for Wellness hotline or call 1-855-242-3310.

Webinar description

This first webinar of the Pathways to Indigenous health series explores what denialism is and how it undermines efforts to decolonize Canada’s healthcare system. Dr. Sean Carlton, Assistant Professor of History and Indigenous Studies at the University of Manitoba, examines how a speech delivered by Canadian Senator Lynn Beyak in 2017 uses residential school denialism as a strategy to legitimize settler privilege and defend anti-Indigenous racism. He proposes practical strategies to address and confront denialism and advance health equity for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples in Canada.

Series description

Pathways to Indigenous health is a series of webinars hosted by the NCCIH. Between September 2023 and April 2024, this series of webinars will explore a variety of topics related to the health and well-being of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples. The series intends to strengthen the links between knowledge, policy, and practice, by supporting the educational journeys of healthcare workers, public health audiences, and beyond.


Sean Carleton is a settler historian and Assistant Professor in the departments of History and Indigenous Studies at the University of Manitoba. He is the author of Lessons in Legitimacy: Colonialism, Capitalism, and the Rise of State Schooling in British Columbia (UBC Press, 2022).

Learning objectives

  • Define and recognize denialism in relation to colonization, with an emphasis on Canada’s Indian Residential School System (1883-1996).
  • Understand residential school denialism as part of a strategy to legitimize and defend colonization and undermine truth and reconciliation efforts.
  • Explore practical strategies for identifying and addressing denialism to support decolonization efforts in Canada’s healthcare system.

Related readings

Webinar resources