Dialogue on the History of Indian Residential Schools in Canada

Name: Dialogue on the History of Indian Residential Schools in Canada

Time & Date: Tuesday, November 1, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Location: First Nations Longhouse, 1985 West Mall, UBC Point Grey

A collaboration between UBC, the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, and the west coast liaison for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, this day-long intensive event seeks to engage the university community in developing a better understanding of the history of the residential school system and its impact on Aboriginal people, and to reflect on the university’s role in preserving, interpreting and instructing about it.

On June 11, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized in Parliament for the government policies that resulted for more than a century in the Indian Residential School system. That system had devastating effects on First Nations and Aboriginal people in Canada, and the effects continue to this day. Children were removed, often forcibly, from their families and communities, and placed in an environment in which their culture and identity was deliberately undermined and within which they often suffered psychological, physical, and sexual abuse. Many returned to their communities with significant trauma, alienated from both mainstream and Aboriginal society, and with little experience to draw on in constructing families of their own. The last school closed in 1996, and, because the effects on individuals, families, and communities are intergenerational, they continue to this day.

Following the apology, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was established to provide a framework for acknowledging the experience of survivors and the history of the schools, and to establish a basis for reconciliation. As the mandate of the Commission draws to a close, significant questions remain as to how widely this history is known and how it will be preserved and understood in the future. In collaboration with the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and the west coast liaison for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, UBC will be conducting a day long exploratory dialogue and strategy session on the history and legacy of the Indian residential schools and the role of UBC and other contemporary educational institutions in addressing them. This event is primarily by invitation, and the dialogue is intended to engage the university’s faculty, senior leadership, and students with leaders of other institutions, residential school survivors and national Aboriginal leaders, and other invited guests, in developing a better common understanding of the residential schools and their effects, and in considering the actions we must take as an institution and in partnership with others in preserving, educating, and drawing future direction from this history.

The effects of residential schools on Aboriginal communities and the ways in which mainstream education has failed to fully and accurately represent Aboriginal people and their histories are a legacy we all must work to overcome. Understanding and preserving this specific history is crucial to providing a more accurate and informed education for all students and in maintaining a more fully formed knowledge base upon which our society can advance. It is a key role we can play in effecting reconciliation between Canadian society and its institutions and Aboriginal communities, and our opportunity to develop an educational system that effectively addresses the past and imagines a better future.

For those unable to attend, there will be a live stream of this event held on November 1, 2011 from 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM in Seminar Room 2.22, in the Irving K Barber Learning Centre. If you are unable to attend, you can also view a live stream on the internet here:
Mobile devices: http://m.insinc.com/ubc Computers: http://ubcctlt.insinc.com.
Note: The URL for this event will not be activated prior to 8:30 AM on November 1st.

There will be an Opening Ceremony on Monday, October 31, from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Museum of Anthropology

Health Resources

UBC Students
Counselling Services, located in Brock Hall provides counselling to UBC students. The team includes an Aboriginal counsellor with experience working with Aboriginal communities. To book an appointment call 604-822-3811 or visit room 1040 in Brock Hall.

Former Residential School Students
An Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of his or her residential school experience. Please call 1-866-925-4419 (toll free).

UBC Faculty and Staff
UBC Faculty and Staff have accress to counselling services through the Employee and Family Assistance Program. Face-to-face counselling, telephone counselling, and e-counselling is available. Contact Homewood Human Solutions at 1-800-663-1142 for 24 hour-a-day to access counselling.

After Hours Emergency Counselling
For 24 hour-a-day counselling services, call 1-800-784-2433.