|Truth & Reconciliation|
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established as a component of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement reached by the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit representatives, Canada and the Anglican, Presbyterian, United and Roman Catholic churches in May 2006. The commission has a mandate until 2014 to learn and document the truth about what happened in residential schools and to educate all Canadians, in order to work towards reconciliation. The Centre for Human Rights Research initiative (CHRR) has joined with the commission in this goal and is assisting it in achieving its mandate.
National Research Centre
As part of its mandate, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will establish a National Research Centre that will be a permanent resource for all Canadians about what happened within the residential schools.
vision for the National Research Centre, if the commissioners decide a university is the appropriate location.The University of Manitoba would be honoured to look after the commission’s archives. Read a statement of our
The University of Manitoba is prepared to care for the TRC’s archives in partnership with Aboriginal organizations and make them widely accessible digitally, subject to privacy law and culturally appropriate ethics protocols. We would also foster a cross-Canada network, help educate the next generation of Aboriginal archivists, provide display space and social support for visitors, and encourage indoor and outdoor ceremonial observance.
U of M president David Barnard was part of a delegation of faculty, staff and students who went to Vancouver March 1-3, 2011, for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s forum on creating a National Research Centre.
Prof. Karen Busby, academic director of the Centre for Human Rights Research, was asked to speak at the conference.
Videotapes of other sessions are available on the TRC's website.
University of Manitoba president apologizes
In an address to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Oct. 27, 2011, University of Manitoba president David Barnard offered a statement of apology and reconciliation on the subject of the Indian Residential School System.
Archives course offered
New faculty member Dr. Greg Bak offered a course in Fall 2012 on Archives, Public Affairs, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (HIST 7772).
With support from the Centre for Human Rights Research, Dr. LeAnne Petherick (kinesiology) will examine the impact of physical training on those who attended Indian residential schools and the role sport and physical competition, as a historical component of Indian residential schooling, played in shaping the lives of First Nations people.
Dr. Brenda Elias (medicine) et al have recently published a paper on the mental health impacts of residential schools on former students and their children. In September 2011, the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (northern Manitoba chiefs) executive council adopted a resolution to work with Elias and others on evidence and advocacy to address health injustices, including intergenerational trauma related to residential schools. Elias and colleagues, for instance, will explore with northern and southern First Nations a residential school archive/registry linkage project to examine health and social impacts of the residential school system using administrative data.
A Tonic for the Boarding School Blues? Genocide and Historical Redress in Canada and the United States
University of Manitoba sociologist Dr. Andrew Woolford recently is working on a comparative analysis of American Indian boarding schools and Canadian residential schools to address questions of genocide and to trace the demise of the schools and the struggle for redress in each country. Prof. Woolford spent time at the University of New Mexico to undertake the U.S. portion of his research, which is also being supported by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Embodying empathy: Historical memory, experiences of suffering and the modern museum
Prof. Woolford and his colleagues, English professors Adam Muller and Struan Sinclair, are seeking funding for this project. What if both the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission had access to technologies capable of bringing audiences closer to the suffering caused by mass violence and forced assimilation? How might computer-generated "augmented" realities and virtualities serve to facilitate the representation of historical injustices and the production of historical memory? To find out, researchers will look closely at emergent digital technologies en route to developing a prototype of an augmented reality program to be demonstrated within a museum environment. This program will be designed to equip museum visitors with an enhanced experience of an Indian residential school in Manitoba. A pilot study will introduce a small sample of users to the AR program and, using before-and-after interviews and questionnaires, invite them to estimate the degree to which it increased their understanding of atrocity events and promoted empathy for those who suffered them. (See a CBC television story about the project.)
U of M student meets duchess
Social work student Ken Letander, who has been gathering statements from residential school survivors, met Prince William and his new bride Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, during their recent visit to Canada.
"I attended this event with a great deal of pride, humbleness, and respect for the TRC. I knew that I was not there for myself, but to represent the dedication of the commission and all those who have been affected by residential schools," Letander, 26, said in a news release after the event.
A crucial component of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission mandate is to hear and document the stories of residential school survivors through statement taking. A University of Manitoba centre, RESOLVE, has trained a number of staff and students to fulfill this role. RESOLVE participated in statement gathering at the TRC's first national event, held in Winnipeg, and is assisting the commission in its statement-gathering efforts over the course of the TRC's mandate. RESOLVE is a tri-provincial research centre on interpersonal violence with centers at the universities of Manitoba, Regina and Calgary and is part of a network of anti-violence research centres across Canada. RESOLVE maintains that the most fundamental human right is for people to be safe from violence and abuse in their own homes and in their intimate relationships.
Critical Conversations on Indian Residential Schools, Truth and Reconciliation
The CHRR, through the initiative of professors Karen Busby (Law) and Kiera Ladner (political studies), established an inter-disciplinary seminar series for the 2010/2011 academic year. Critical Conversations on Indian Residential Schools, Truth and Reconciliation provided an opportunity for the U of M community to engage about its research on these difficult topics. Many of the seminars are available by podcast.
Prairie Perspectives on Indian Residential Schools, Truth and Reconciliation
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission hosted its first national event at The Forks in Winnipeg June 16 – 19, 2010. The CHRR held an academic conference at the national event, which featured Prairie research on residential schools and truth and reconciliation. This conference was an important contribution to the commission’s goal of promoting learning and is a building block towards the establishment of a National Research Centre.
The Centre for Human Rights Research also organized a law question-and-answer table in the “learning tent” at the National Event. This table was staffed by 25 volunteer law students, 10 lawyers from Thompson Dorfman Sweatman and professors from the University of Manitoba. These volunteers answered questions and provided legal information on issues related to Aboriginal law and residential schools. The CHRR produced short videos on topics in Aboriginal law, written and narrated by law school faculty members, as well as fact sheets. Combined, these three initiatives enabled the 10,000 to 15,000 attendees at the National Event to build a foundation of knowledge and understanding of the issues, helping to pave the road to reconciliation.
See a more detailed list of University of Manitoba activities related to residential schools.