National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation

Current Reality

On Sept. 23, 2021 the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation unveiled a new Survivors’ Flag to mark the first official National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

For an explanation of the symbolism in the flag see:

As the permanent home for all statements, documents, and other materials gathered by the TRC the NCTR will ensure that:

  • former students and their families have access to their own history;
  • educators can share the Indian Residential School history with future generations of students;
  • researchers can more deeply explore the Residential School experience;
  • the public can access historical records and other materials to help foster reconciliation and healing; and
  • the history and legacy of the residential school system are never forgotten

Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre – The Centre at UBC opened in 2018 and has facilitated dialogues and access to records and information that support engaging the legacies of the residential school system, and the on-going impacts of colonialism in Canada. This partnership is one of several national MOUs for the Centre, which works in service to Indigenous communities in BC and Canada. The IRSHDC is working on several collaborative projects to assist communities and partners with digital systems development – supporting access to records and information, while also respecting Indigenous protocols for sharing and access. Through this partnership the centres will share information about their systems development, ensuring that on-going system work reflects community input, and is Survivor-informed.

Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre – The Centre at Algoma University has signed a memorandum of Understanding with the IRSHDC to share data, information and collaborate on ongoing community engagement and research projects – making records more accessible and usable for Survivors and communities. Both the IRSHDC and the SRSC work with Survivors, church entities, educators and Indigenous communities to research, collect, preserve and display the history of residential schools across Canada. This MOU allows the centres to share digital records as well as expertise and knowledge among staff, and create opportunities to co-develop resources for both education and community engagement. Both spaces serve communities in virtual and physical spaces that are Survivor-centered and trauma informed. This partnership supports reciprocal sharing of knowledge that will benefit communities.

Calls to Action

Call to Action # 77All archives to work with NCTR to collect all records
Call to Action # 78$10M funding for NCTR + $10M for communities

Current and Ongoing Problems

Catholic Organizations refusal to provide Residential School Records to the National Centre for Reconciliation

June 1, 2018: CBC – Some Catholic orders still withholding promised residential school records:

Grey Nuns of Montreal

Withholding 3,000 photos and litigation records. The Grey Nuns want the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) at The University of Manitoba to bear all travel and associated costs to duplicate the records even though the court order from the Settlement Agreement requires all parties to turn over all records in their possession.

Oblates of Grandin (St. Albert, Alberta)

NCTR waiting to receive what are known as codex historicus files — diary-like records — of life at residential schools

Sisters of St. Ann (Victoria)

The Sisters of St. Ann refused to sign a waiver allowing Ottawa to transfer the records citing historical inaccuracies in records as reason for refusal to comply. The centre is missing narratives for the Kuper Island, St. Mary’s and Kamloops residential schools where the order operated.

Sisters of Charity of Providence (Edmonton)

The Sisters of Charity of Providence refused to sign a waiver allowing Ottawa to transfer the records citing historical inaccuracies in records as reason for refusal to comply. The centre is missing school narratives for the Assumption, Fort Vermilion, Grouard and the St. Augustine-Sturgeon Lake residential schools where the order operated.

Federal Government reluctance to fund reconciliation research at a community level

In addition to the $10M to fund the National Centre for Reconciliation, Call to Action # 78 also called for an additional $10M “to assist communities to research and produce histories of their own residential school experience and their involvement in truth, healing, and reconciliation”. As of Oct. 4, 2021, there has been no response from the federal government.

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