Abstract

In 2006, the Government of Canada announced the approval of a final Residential Schools Settlement Agreement with the collaboration of the four churches responsible (United, Anglican, Presbyterian, Catholic), the federal government and residential school survivors. Schedule "N" of the Agreement lists the mandate of the TRC; therein, the TRC states one of its goals as: (d) to promote awareness and public education of Canadians about the system and its impacts. Can education - as the TRC hopes to engender - truly be transformative, renewing relationships and promoting healing in the process of forging these new relationships? The literature reviewed and the conferences attended highlighted that generating empathy may be a necessary ingredient for the instigation of social change, but is insufficient. Transformation through education, or reconciliation through truth-telling, testimonial reading and responsible listening would mean claiming a genuine, supportive responsibility for the colonial past. Educational policy and media initiatives are fundamental to creating awareness, developing public interest and support of the TRC's recommendations. However, authors also stress the importance of critical pedagogy in the whole process of truth and reconciliation, and that real reconciliation would require confronting the racism that initiated these institutions and allowed for a decontextualization of their impacts.

Acknowledgments

The author would like to acknowledge the generous direction and feedback from Dr. Martin Cannon at OISE. She would also like to acknowledge subsequent reviews by Nicholas Czyzewski, and her colleagues Emily Anson, Emma Yasui and Anatoly Venovcev.

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