International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Truth and Reconciliation in Canada

One part of Canadian history that is not commonly talked about is the Indian Residential School system. This boarding school system was in place as a way to try and assimilate aboriginal people into “normal (white) society”. Canada was not alone in this practice
as schools like these also existed in the United States for many years. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was constituted and created by the Indian trc-final-reportResidential Schools Settlement. For years the aboriginal peoples of Canada have had to live with the consequences from the residential schools and finally this truth commission worked as a conduit for healing and truth. The goals of the Commission are to acknowledge the schools and their impacts and consequences, to provide a safe and culturally appropriate setting for former students  and their parents to come forward, to promote awareness of the IRS system, to create a historical record, produce and submit to the Parties of the Agreement report and lastly to support commemoration of former IRS students. The final report of the Commission is to be released in December of this year. Seeing how the United States system was so parallel to Canada it will be interesting to see if there is a future for a commission here in the states. *Pictured is Commissioner Justice Murray Sinclair shaking hands with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau*



One response to “Truth and Reconciliation in Canada

  1. ellesnyder December 1, 2016 at 9:08 am

    This development represents an extremely important step for the indigenous peoples in Canada. As some theorists such as Tricia D. Olsen, Leigh A. Payne, et. al contend, often truth commissions alone are ineffective. Such authors argue that truth commissions in conjunction with trials and amnesties can provide stability which might be upset by a lone truth commission. However, this argument primarily exists within the context of recent conflict. As the crimes committed against the indigenous population in Canada were committed many years ago, the fear of instability is reduced. Still the question begs weather or not a truth commission on its own will provide the catharsis and healing necessary for those affected populations.
    The timing of the truth commission appears in stark contrast with the manner in which indigenous populations in the U.S. are being treated. As Canada moves towards attempts at reconciliation with its indigenous population, the U.S. simultaneously encourages the pollution and destruction of sacred indigenous land by way of the Dakota access pipeline in North Dakota. Hoping for a truth commission in the U.S. for the mass killing of indigenous peoples is unfortunately not likely in our future. As the U.S. continues to mistreat and violate the rights of our indigenous people’s, the trends do not appear to be in the favor of acknowledgement or justice.

%d bloggers like this: