Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in CanadaBy Paulette Regan
2011 | UBC Press
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In 2008 the Canadian government apologized to the victims of the notorious Indian residential school system, and established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission whose goal was to mend the deep rifts between Aboriginal peoples and the settler society that engineered the system. In Unsettling the Settler Within, Paulette Regan, a former residential-schools-claims manager, argues that in order to truly participate in the transformative possibilities of reconciliation, non-Aboriginal Canadians must undergo their own process of decolonization. They must relinquish the persistent myth of themselves as peacemakers and acknowledge the destructive legacy of a society that has stubbornly ignored and devalued Indigenous experience. With former students offering their stories as part of the truth and reconciliation processes, Regan advocates for an ethos that learns from the past, making space for an Indigenous historical counter-narrative to avoid perpetuating a colonial relationship between Aboriginal and settler peoples. A powerful and compassionate call to action, Unsettling the Settler Within inspires with its thoughtful and personal account of Regan's own journey, and offers all Canadians -- Indigenous and non-Indigenous policymakers, politicians, teachers, and students -- a new way of approaching the critical task of healing the wounds left by the residential school system.