Earlier this year, 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.
This week, a grand opening was held for the new National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation located on the grounds of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. The Centre is the permanent home for all statements, documents, and other materials gathered by the TRC.
As the Centre’s director Ry Moran explains:
On this site and at our centre, you will find a vast collection of documents, oral history and other records that detail the systematic and intentional attempt to assimilate the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. Much of the material you will interact with will be difficult but as difficult as this history may be, this is the history of Canada and it is history we all need to know.
But also interwoven throughout these records are incredible accounts of strength and resilience. The records contain rich and dynamic stories from Indigenous cultures that resisted every attempt to eliminate them from the Canadian landscape. You’ll also find moving accounts of meaningful reconciliation and sincere promises by people from all walks of life to make this country a better, more respectful place for all people.
While some of the records will detail humanity at its worst, others demonstrate humanity at its best.
Everything recorded in this collection has a direct effect on the present day relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this country. Think about how what you discover here is reflected in the present day. Think about the conversations we need to have in this country to heal the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples that has existed for far too long.
The Centre hosts a massive database of its collections including:
- the materials from the TRC
- testimonials from survivors of the schools
- millions of records from federal departments and from Library and Archives Canada (records detailing how the schools were created and run; school admissions; school histories; administration records; photographs; maps, plans and drawings)
- records from churches that ran the schools (student records; photographs; school newsletters; cemetery records; religious records; administrative records)
Press coverage of the opening ceremony: