Canada | Opinion

Steven Newcomb: Reconciliation report fails to expose realities






Students at the former Regina Indian Industrial School in Regina, Saskatchewan. Photo from RIIS Media Project / Facebook

Can the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission lead to true reconciliation in Canada? Steven Newcomb (Shawnee / Lenape) of the Indigenous Law Institute continues his look at the issue:
How are we to accurately interpret the word “reconciliation in the title of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada? One way to address that question is by asking ourselves, “What do the words reconcile, submit, submission, and surrender all have in common?” Answer: They are synonymous. One of the meanings given for the word “reconcile” is “to cause to submit to or accept.” Since based on the dire record of the boarding schools of domination in an effort to destroy the free nationhood of Original Nations, and assimilate the people into the Canadian society, there is no “friendship” to restore between the crown and our Original Nations. One remaining and sensible image of “reconciliation” behind the TRC, therefore, is the image of a surrender by some form of submission to “the assumed sovereignty of the Crown.”

One of the meanings given for the word “submit” is “to yield to governance or authority.” One of the meanings of “reconcile” is “to yield to governance or authority.” Additionally, one of the meanings of submission is “the act of submitting [yielding] to the authority or control of another.” One meaning provided for the word “surrender” is, “to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand.” Another is “to give oneself up into the power of another: YIELD.”

Get the Story:
Steven Newcomb: Reconciliation and Indian Treaties and Surrenders? (Indian Country Today 5/16)

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report:
Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future (June 2015)

Related Stories:
Steven Newcomb: Tricking the original nations into reconciliation (5/3)