Kerry Benjoe says this designation of the two schools is a step in the right direction, but she would like to see all former residential school sites be acknowledged. (Cally Stephanow/CTV Regina)

As an academic and educator, Kerry Benjoe has taught many people and her children about Canada's residential schools.

"The residential school experience is different for everybody and every family," said Benjoe, a survivor of the residential school in Lebret.  

"I think right now we are still impacted because I'm the first in my entire family to have the luxury of raising my child to adulthood without government interference," she said.

On Tuesday, the federal government announced that two former residential schools will be added to its list of National Historic Sites.

The schools are the former Portage La Prairie Indian Residential School in Manitoba and the former Shubenacadie Indian Residential School in Nova Scotia.

The Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action has recommended the schools be designated.  

Benjoe said this designation of the two schools is a step in the right direction, but she would like to see all former residential school sites be acknowledged as historic by the federal government.

"It still holds a lot of history for people like myself, who was a graduate of that school and had parents, grandparents and great grandparents that went there," Benjoe said. "I would like to see it recognized."

Kerry Benjoe, with her daughter Jahnlin Deneyou, says this designation of the two schools is a step in the right direction, but she would like to see all former residential school sites be acknowledged. (Cally Stephanow/CTV Regina)

Benjoe said she attended the residential school in Lebret during her high school years.

She said at that time, the school was a much different place than when her parents attended.

She said her parents didn't talk much about their time in the school, which was previously called the Qu'Appelle Indian Residential School.

However, she said she knows it wasn't a happy time and they were significantly impacted by the experience.

"It wasn't until my mom was 74 that she actually said, ‘I love you,’” Benjoe said. "I grew up never ever hearing anything like that. So that's the impact we dealt with."

Jonathan Wilkinson, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast, said the residential school system has had a lasting and damaging impact on Indigenous peoples.

"Communities, cultures, economies, traditional knowledge and ways of life, their languages, family structures, connections to the land and more,” he said during the announcement.

Residential school survivors also spoke during the announcement, sharing their experiences.

"As survivors we have often been called upon to forgive, but as survivors we know that no matter how much healing occurs, we can never forget," said survivor Lorraine Daniels.

"As is made clear through this commemoration ceremony, all Canadians should never forget," she said.

Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegarde said education is the key to reconciliation.

"We all must understand the lasting impacts these schools had and continue to have on our First Nations' cultures, languages and families," he said during the announcement.