December 05, 2022

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Image Source : Library and Archives Canada – PA-042133

Among the many important recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) report was the importance of how Canada as a country, survivors, their families and communities will remember and commemorate the residential school tragedy. This is a process that is especially difficult within a system unaccustomed to accommodating the needs associated with a tragedy of this nature and magnitude. Carleton University’s Trina Cooper-Bolam, Cultural Mediations PhD student, was heavily cited in the section on commemoration in the executive summary of the final report of the TRC. Her research has filled an important gap, as commemoration plays a vital part in the report and the Indian Residential School (IRS) Settlement. Cooper-Bolam’s master’s thesis, Healing Heritage: New Approaches to Commemorating Canada’s Indian Residential School System, was written in anticipation of the TRC’s report. Her thesis examines Canada’s federal place-based heritage infrastructure and critiques the policy and practice of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC) relative to its engagements with the history of residential schools and difficult heritage in general. Interpreting IRS survivor-led commemoration and heritage practices as healing and decolonizing, and drawing on art-as-resistance and social activism-oriented models of commemoration and counter-commemoration, Cooper-Bolam examined alternative approaches to collective remembering and forgetting within the context of genocide, atrocity and historic trauma. She argues for a shift from dominant heritage paradigms that bind heritage with conservation, to approaches that recognize heritage as a healing practice. If you are interested in speaking to Cooper-Bolam and learning more about her thesis and how it was prominently cited in the TRC report, please let me know. With thanks Steven Reid Media Relations Officer Carleton University 613-520-2600 ext. 8718 613-265-6613

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About The Author

MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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