Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Political Science


Dr. Joanna Quinn


This thesis assesses the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which was created to redress the legacy of the Indian Residential Schools system. Using discourse analysis, it examines the commission’s success in promoting holistic healing within Aboriginal communities and reconciliation as decolonization of settler society and government. This thesis argues that the TRC promoted individual, communal, and cultural healing despite government rhetoric supporting premature termination of healing processes. Although it remains too soon to evaluate the Canadian TRC’s effect on decolonization, this thesis contends that the commission has not yet advanced reconciliation. As of the publication of this thesis in 2015, the TRC has been unable to disrupt the dominant narrative that ties reconciliation to resolution, forgiveness of a settler society, neoliberalism, and governmentalism. This research offers a note of temperance in the proliferation of reconciliation discourse and underscores the importance of elucidating concealed economic considerations in transitional justice.