“Reconciliation is about forging and maintaining respectful relationships.
There are no shortcuts.”

-Justice Murray Sinclair

A truth and reconciliation commission is a commission tasked with discovering and revealing past wrongdoing by a government in the hope of resolving conflict left over from the past. They are, under various names, occasionally set up by states emerging from periods of internal unrest. The Canadian Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission is a currently active (as of October 2013) as it investigates human rights abuses in the Canadian Indian residential school system from the 1970’s to the 1990’s.


TRC Resources

Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Interim Report (February 2012):

Important Historical Documents:

1.  Royal Proclamation of 1763

2.  An Act to Encourage the Gradual Civilization of Indian Tribes, 1857

3.  Indian Act, 1876

4.  Report on Industrial Schools for Indians and Half-Breeds, 1879

5.  Dr. P. H. Bryce, The Story of a National Crime, 1922

6.  White Paper, 1969

7.   The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples [RCAP] Final Report, 1996

8.  Text of Prime Minister Harper’s Apology on behalf of Canadians for the Indian Residential School System, 11 June 2008

9.  United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2008

Suggested Books:

(Students who are taking this course for credit are required to read and review one of these books)

Jeremy Bergen, Ecclesial Repentance:  The Churches Confront Their Sinful Pasts (T & T Clark, 2011)

Roland Chrisjohn and Sherri Young, with Michael Maraun, The Circle Game: Shadows and Substance in the Indian Residential School Experience in Canada (Theytus Books, 1997)

Tomson Highway, Kiss of the Fur Queen (Doubleday Canada, 1998)

Steve Heinrichs, editor., Buffalo Shout, Salmon Cry:  Conversations on Creation, Land Justice, and Life Together (Herald Press, 2013)

Rita Joe, Song of Rita Joe: Autobiography of a Mi’kmaq Poet (University of Nebraska Press, 1996)

Thomas King, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America (Random House, 2012).

J. S. Miller, Shingwauk’s Vision: A History of Native Residential Schools (University of Toronto Press, 1996)

John Milloy, A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879 to 1986 (University of Manitoba Press, 1999)

Ronald Niezen, Truth & Indignation: Canada’s Truth and Residential Commission on Indian Residential Schools (University of Toronto Press, 2013)

Paulette Regan, Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada (University of British Columbia Press, 2010)

Shelagh Rogers, Mike DeGagne, Jonathan Dewar, Glen Lowry, eds., Speaking My Truth: Reflections on Reconciliation & Residential Schools (Aboriginal Healing Foundation, 2012) [See for many more publications from the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.]

Rupert Ross, Returning to the Teachings: Exploring Aboriginal Justice (Penguin Canada, 2006 [1996])

Richard Wagamese, Indian Horse (Douglas & Mcintyre, 2012)

Additional Resources

Legacy of Hope Foundation

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Where are the Children?

(Right click and open in new tab to view and download.)

United Church Social Policy Positions

TRC IRS RC Apologies

TRC IRS Roman Catholic Church Apologies

TRC Class Poster

Training For Reconciliation Where Are The Children Viewing Guide Revised 3


Resources on Indian Residential Schools and Truth and Reconciliation (November 25, 2013

Poster Holy Spirit Ecumen Screening Jan 19

SJI Nov.30, 2013 Cecile Fausak’s speech on Reconciliation

Statement of Apology from the Government of Canada

Mennonite Church and Residential Schools

Mennonite Statement

Mennonite Apology

Lori Ransom Speech – St Josephs, Ottawa April 2 2013


FINAL SJI TRC nov 2013 poster

100 Years of Loss – The Residential School System in Canada

Anglican Apology

CRC Statement for Social Justice Institute Event

ELCIC Resolution on Right Relationships

Green and Burton CD Twelve steps 2013


Alkali Lake CS

An Apology Feast in Hazelton

Janice Makokis – Rethinking Canada’s History PDF

Role of the Churches – class Jan 29 2014


TRC Course Syllabus 2014


This is a photo of the award the DVD “Gently Whispering the Circle Back” received. The award is displayed in the library at Blue Quills First Nations College at Blue Quills Reserve near the Town of St. Paul, Alberta. Click the photo for more information on the film.