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ERIC Number: EJ1166030
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
The Question of Residential Schools in Canada: Preserve, Demolish, or Repurpose?
Canadian Social Studies, v49 n1 p11-14 2017
With public debates surrounding the removal of historical monuments in Canada (e.g., statues of, or schools named after, John A. Macdonald) and the United States (e.g., Confederate monuments), at times the voices of those who are most directly affected by their presence can be either drowned out or left out of the conversation entirely. It seems easy for the broader public to pass judgements and come to a consensus on a "right" way to approach such debates, but these judgements tend to be overly simplistic and removed from the immediate context and its attendant complexities. Those immersed in the situation face dynamics that are so complex that reaching consensus is difficult, as is this case with St. Mary's Indian Residential School on Kainai First Nation and St. Phillip's School on Keeseekoose First Nation. After these schools burned down, the communities were left with the residual mixed emotions at their loss, untimely or not. In this essay, the author specifically considers what it means to undertake the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's (TRC) Call to Action #79 (2015a) that calls "upon the federal government, in collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal organizations, and the arts community, to develop a reconciliation framework for Canadian heritage and commemoration" (p. 9) in relation to the roughly 17 Indian Residential Schools (IRS) that are left of the original 140 (Parry, 2017). The author asks: (1) How can buildings hold power over a community's healing and the process of reconciliation; and (2) To what extent should the broader public have a say in a community's healing process? There appears to be no single answer because this issue is fraught with complications. Instead of the broader society seeking one "right" solution, the most helpful course of action for potential reconciliation, according to Boffa, will likely be different for each community.
Descriptors: Residential Schools, Foreign Countries, Canada Natives, Indigenous Populations, Indigenous Knowledge
University of Alberta. 347 Education South, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2G5, Canada. Web site: http://www2.education.ualberta.ca/css/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada