The University of Manitoba has been chosen as the host site for the National Research Centre (NRC) on Residential Schools, which will house the permanent record of Canada’s Indian residential school system.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) and the University of Manitoba will seal the partnership at a signing ceremony scheduled on Friday, June 21, in Winnipeg, said a press statement issued by the university. The event will begin at 8 a.m. with sacred pipe and water ceremonies at the Migizii Agamik (Bald Eagle Lodge) at the Fort Garry campus, to be followed at 10:30 a.m. by the signing ceremony at the Engineering Information and Technology Complex Atrium.
The establishment of the NRC is in keeping with the mandate of the TRC, which was created as part of the revised 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement involving the federal government, residential school survivors and churches that managed these schools. For more than 150 years, about 180,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children were removed from their homes and sent to federally funded schools managed by Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian and United churches. There were students who suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse in these schools.
“The NRC will be a permanent resource to educate all Canadians on what happened within the residential schools,” said the TRC when it issued a call for submissions for hosting the NRC. The NRC will “ensure that a national memory is preserved and recognized for future generations of all Canadians.”
Justice Murray Sinclair, TRC chair, added: “When the work of the commission is complete, we will ensure the whole world hears the truth about residential schools, so that generations to come-aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians alike-will hold to the statement that resonates with all of us: This must never happen again.”
As host, the University of Manitoba will work with the TRC to “preserve and archive millions of records,” including statements made by school survivors, documents, photographs and digital records from government and church archives, and other materials received by the commission in the course of its work.
In its statement, the University of Manitoba said it had submitted its proposal to host the NRC “in keeping with its deep commitment to human rights research and promotion and to ensure oral and written material collected by the TRC is respectfully preserved, helps contribute to the healing of our society and is accessible for use in teaching and research so the grave mistakes of the past are not repeated.”