September 16, 2013

A Chance For Allyship: Truth and Reconciliation Events This Week, Resources, and Learning More

This week Reconciliation Canada is hosting a series of major events to educate, share, and pay witness to the experiences of survivors and others who have been affected or involved in Canada’s former residential school system as well as promoting dialogue, community building, and relationship nurturing. The full list of events is available at in connection and partnership with the national Truth and Reconciliation commission, which is collecting survivor’s stories (more information at

UBC’s events and website are available at and

A primer on the school system, its legacy, and relationship to the Canadian state can be found here,

While we pay witness and center survivors and place the residential school system and its horrors in focus this week, doing our best to work as allies, it is also important to keep in mind the larger framework in which the residential schools operated. They were a tool of colonialism which operated in ways that were gendered, raced, and full of other dynamics.  Sexual violence and gendered violence alongside the enforcement of gendered norms (labour students were required to complete were based on Western cultural stereotypes for instance)were heavily present in the residential school system and have had strong impact on the First Nations communities impacted by the legacy of that system.

I would like to take this space to share information, concerns, varying perspectives, and statements by Indigenous folk and allies in order for us to do more than only observe colonialism and the legacy and fact of the residential school system on this week, particularly in relation to the Indian Act and current struggles and spaces of resistance. This is a moment to act as an ally and begin to deepen or research these interconnections between residential schools, ongoing colonialism, and other institutional power dynamics.

The SASC will be attending the BC National event on September 18th, we invite you to seek us out there or later  for dialogue, learning together, and discussion.

Additional learning:

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