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Resistance to the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission

[working paper]

Arsenault, Virginia

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Corporate Editor swisspeace - Schweizerische Friedensstiftung
Abstract Between 1867 and 1996, approximately 150,000 Aboriginal students went through one of 135 residential schools located across Canada. These schools were created and supported by both the Canadian government and churches. Though the outward goal of the Indian Residential School system had been to educate Aboriginal children, in reality the system was fraught with problems including systemic abuse, neglect, and poor quality of the education. The effects have been long lasting and profound, and continue to be felt today. In 2008, a truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) was launched with the goals of gathering the testimony of former students, determining the complete history of the residential school system, and offer recommendations to aid in the road to reconciliation. In June 2015, the Canadian TRC published a summary of its final report on the Indian Residential School system. The report includes 94 recommendations and describes the Indian Residential School system as cultural genocide. This paper examines the resistance to the TRC by both the Canadian government and by Aboriginal Peoples. It argues that the government resisted in order to maintain its narrative of its relationship Aboriginal Peoples, and did so by making it difficult for the TRC to acquire the required documents and archival files. It will also argue that Aboriginal resistance can be explained by a lack of trust in the Canadian government, a sense of re-victimization, and the conception of the TRC.
Keywords Canada; indigenous peoples; discrimination; social inequality; coming to terms with the past; reconciliation; justice; board; human rights violation; compensation (law); North America
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; Law
Free Keywords Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada; Residential Schools; Aboriginals
Document language English
Publication Year 2015
City Bern
Page/Pages 43 p.
Series swisspeace Working Paper, 2/2015
ISBN 978-3-908230-98-4
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications