turned into a personal hunt for knowledge of my own family’s history with residential schools.” Others noted the importance of respecting and incorporating ceremony and protocols into their digital storytelling project. Asma Antoine, the project coordinator, reported that the group learned the importance of
126 • Truth & Reconciliation Commission knowing that when speaking to a Survivor ... you have to hear their past before you can hear their understanding of resistance. This project allowed the group [to have] a learning process that weaves [together] traditional [Indigenous] and Western knowledge to build our stories of resistance .... This research project has ignited a fire that shows in each digital story. The passion of resistance that validates the survival and resiliency of First Nations people and communities provides hope for healing and reconciliation over the next seven generations. 18 In 2012, a digital storytelling project was undertaken by Aboriginal women at the Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence, “Nitâpwewininân: Ongoing Effects of Residential Schools on Aboriginal Women—Towards Inter-generational Reconciliation.” Consistent with the use of ceremony and protocols throughout the project, the first workshop began with a pipe ceremony, followed by a Sharing Circle in which participants talked about their lives and group members discussed their indi- vidual and collective need for support. They later moved on to making videos of their individual stories, which were screened in March 2012 at the University of Winnipeg. 19 One of the participants, Lorena Fontaine, said, Reconciliation is about stories and our ability to tell stories. I think the intellec- tual part of ourselves wants to start looking for words to define reconciliation. And then there is the heart knowledge that comes from our life experiences. It’s challenging to connect the two and relate it to reconciliation .... Without even thinking of the term reconciliation, I’m reminded about the power of story .... [People who watched the videos] said that when they saw the faces of Aborig- inal women and heard their voices in the videos they understood assimilation in a different way. They felt the impact of assimilation .... It’s far more powerful to have Aboriginal peoples talk about the impact of assimilation and hope for reconciliation than having words written down in a report. 20 Research is vital to reconciliation. It provides insights and practical examples of why and how educating Canadians about the diverse concepts, principles, and prac- tices of reconciliation contributes to healing and transformative social change. The benefits of research extend beyond addressing the legacy of residential schools. Research on the reconciliation process can inform how Canadian society can mitigate intercultural conflicts, strengthen civic trust, and build social capacity and practical skills for long-term reconciliation. First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples have an especially strong contribution to make to this work.
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- Fall '17
- Sarah Wylie Krotz
- First Nations, Indigenous Australians, Reconciliation Commission, Truth and Reconciliation Commission