Truth and Indignation: Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools

Truth and Indignation: Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools

by Ronald Niezen

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Truth and Indignation offers the first close and critical assessment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as it is unfolding. Niezen uses interviews with survivors and oblate priests and nuns, as well as testimonies, texts, and visual materials produced by the Commission to raise important questions: What makes Canada's TRC different from others around the world? What kinds of narratives are emerging and what does that mean for reconciliation, transitional justice, and conceptions of traumatic memory? What happens to the ultimate goal of reconciliation when a large part of the testimony—that of nuns, priests, and government officials—is scarcely evident in the Commission's proceedings? Thoughtful, provocative, and uncompromising in the need to tell the "truth" as he sees it, Niezen offers an important contribution to our understanding of TRC processes in general, and the Canadian experience in particular.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442606326
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division
Publication date: 10/22/2013
Series: Teaching Culture: UTP Ethnographies for the Classroom
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Ronald Niezen is the Katherine A. Pearson Chair in Civil Society and Public Policy at McGill University. He has published widely in the area of indigenous peoples and human rights and is the author, most recently, of Public Justice and the Anthropology of Law (2010) and The Rediscovered Self: Indigenous Identity and Cultural Justice (2009).

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
List of Figures

1. The Sense of Injustice
2. The Unfolding
3. The Process
4. Templates and Exclusions
5. Testimony
6. Traumatic Memory
7. Witnessing History
8. Solitudes


What People are Saying About This

Rhoda Howard-Hassmann

A skeptical yet sympathetic analysis of how Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission creates narrative, history, victims, and perpetrators. Niezen interviewed priests, brothers, and nuns as well as former inmates of Canada's residential schools, and sat in on hearings. A brilliant book.

Joanna Quinn

A unique chronicle that unsettles our tidy assumptions. Posing questions surrounding injustice and recognition, and the wider implications of the impact of the residential schools, Niezen pushes the boundaries of our understanding of what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission can and should mean.

Mark Goodale

A rare combination of intellectual poetry and absolutely necessary social science. This study of Canada's attempts to come to public and national terms with one of its darkest legacies can and must be read on a number of different levels: as a superb and sophisticated ethnographic encounter with the ongoing Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), as an innovative reflection on the ambiguous ways in which law constitutes its multiple and shifting objects, and as a profound meditation on the ultimate limits of public categories to capture, shape, and mobilize sentiment on a grand, social scale.

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