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Accepted Paper:

Confronting the violence and trust that built the country: Attempts at decolonization in Canada  
Sabine Mannitz (Peace Research Institute Frankfurt PRIF)

Paper short abstract:

Across Canada, grassroots initiatives, universities and museums have started to unravel the complex system of settler colonialism. The paper will reflect on these attempts at decolonization through the prism of trust built on the grounds of violence.

Paper long abstract:

Canada’s violent legacy made headlines in 2021, when the remains of more than 1,500 bodies were found on premises of “residential schools”. As of the mid-nineteenth century, as part of a government policy of re-education, Indigenous children were forced to attend these schools, most of them run by churches and located far away from the settlement areas of their families. The discoveries were a shock for the Canadian public, despite the fact that between 2008 and 2015, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) had already been conducting investigations into the practices and occurrences at these boarding schools. The TRC had published its findings in an extensive report and had furthermore concluded that the intentional alienation of Indigenous children constituted cultural genocide. Still, for years these findings did not have any noteworthy consequences. It was only with the discovery of bodies in anonymous graves that the wider public took notice. While the 2021 shock is still fresh within Canadian society, the country has an opportunity to face up to its history, which can be understood as representing entanglements of violence and trust. So far, there is no political strategy for how this process could trigger changes in the relationships between different population groups. But across the country grassroots initiatives, universities and museums have started to unravel the complex system of power distribution and domination in Canadian settler colonialism. The paper will reflect on these attempts at decolonization through the prism of trust built on the grounds of experienced violence.

Panel P115a
Trust and Violence in Times of Political Transformation I
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -