The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) at the University of Manitoba is home to hope.
The journey of reconciliation continues as we marked the Centre’s official opening in November, 2015. Ry Moran, Director of the Centre, along with the staff and student archivists of the Centre, are prepared to take on the trust placed in them by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
“Despite the hard truths contained in the records, the work of reconciliation is one inherently about hope,”
“Hope for a brighter future, hope for a more just and equal society, and hope for a country where Indigenous cultures thrive, are welcomed and honoured for the gifts they contain. The records we hold at the Centre are agents of change in and of themselves, helping propel us forward on the path of reconciliation.”
The University of Manitoba was named as the permanent host of the Centre in a special ceremony involving urvivors, Elders and the Commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2013. To realize the vision of the Centre, partners will also play a significant role, sharing and inspiring dialogue to propel the work of reconciliation forward.
“In taking on this responsibility, the University is upholding its commitment to build respectful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples,”
says David Barnard, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manitoba.
“The Centre will provide opportunities for Survivors, families of Survivors, researchers, students, and the public to interact with the oral and documented history of Residential Schools.”
A seven-member Governing Circle guides the Centre, ensuring Indigenous control over the materials held and offering guidance on the Centre’s policies, priorities and activities; on ceremonies and protocols; on methods and sources for expanding the Centre’s holdings and resources; and on prospective partners.
“We as survivors have been waiting for this Centre for a long time,” says Eugene Arcand, a Governing Circle member and a 12-year Survivor of Residential Schools. Ensuring Survivors have a say in how the Centre functions is critical and I am honoured to be a part of it.”
The Centre is hosted by the U of M in partnership with universities, colleges and other organizations across the country. The goal is to create the broadest possible network from coast to coast to coast. Partners will support the Centre’s purpose and objectives by undertaking various types of activities, including archival, research, public engagement, education and reconciliation.
“We both need to and want to educate all people about a very dark chapter in Canadian history that continues to have consequences and ramifications today,”
says Angela Cassie, Director of Communications and External Relations, Canadian Museum for Human Rights.
“In terms of that truth telling and the question of reconciliation, we need to create places and spaces for discussion and dialogue, and that’s where we [partners] can really collaborate to fulfill those mandates,”
The University of British Columbia’s (UBC) has been a partner with the Centre since its inception.
“We have the opportunity to be graduating people who have a better cultural understanding and historical understanding and are much more prepared to enter the conversations and negotiations that will determine the future,”
says Linc Kesler, Director of the UBC First Nations House of Learning.
The Centre provides a way to deepen our understanding, says Moran.
“THE CENTRE WELCOMES EVERYONE TO PARTICIPATE IN THEIR WORK AND TO LEARN FROM THOSE COURAGEOUS SURVIVORS WHO SHARED THEIR EXPERIENCES WITH THE COMMISSION,”
“TRUTH INSPIRES OUR FUTURE, AND IT IS THROUGH MEANINGFUL ENGAGEMENT WITH THIS HISTORY THAT OUR COLLECTIVE FUTURE SHINES BRIGHTEST.”
To learn more about the NCTR, to view the archive, and to follow their activities, visit www.umanitoba.ca/nctr