Role of Canada’s Museums and Archives in Reconciliation in Wake of Indian Residential School Abuses
Earlier this month, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its findings after its years-long investigation into the many abuses against Aboriginal children at Church-run Indian Residential Schools in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The ActiveHistory.ca website yesterday published an article by Krista McCracken, Archives Supervisor at Algoma University’s Shingwauk Residential School and Wishart A. Library.
It is called The Role of Canada’s Museums and Archives in Reconciliation:
"The report features 94 recommendations to facilitate reconciliation and address the legacy of residential schools, including a set of recommendations relating specifically to museums and archives. Given the challenging past relationship between the TRC and archival institutions these recommendations are perhaps not surprising."
"The TRC went to court in 2012 and 2013 to gain access to archival records relating to residential schools held by Library and Archives Canada. The Commission’s recommendations go beyond the issue of access. It also includes calls to action relating to best practices, commemorative projects, public education, and compliance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."
"In terms of public education and commemorative projects the Commission urges the federal government to work with Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian Museums Association to establish funding for commemoration projects for the 150th anniversary of Canada relating to reconciliation. It also calls for Library and Archives Canada to commit additional resources to education and programming on residential schools."
"The executive summary pointedly notes that museums and archives 'have interpreted the past in ways that have excluded or marginalized Aboriginal peoples’ cultural perspectives and historical experience….as history that had formerly been silenced was revealed, it became evident that Canada’s museums had told only part of the story.'(p. 303)"