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ERIC Number: EJ1136165
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 30
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1918-5979
Reconciliation or Racialization? Contemporary Discourses about Residential Schools in the Canadian Prairies
Gebhard, Amanda
Canadian Journal of Education, v40 n1 2017
The residential school system is one of the darkest examples of Canada's colonial policy. Education about the residential schools is believed to be the path to reconciliation; that is, the restoration of equality between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada. While the acquisition of the long-ignored history of residential schools has the potential to centre marginalized perspectives and narratives, knowledge acquisition alone is not necessarily a reconciliatory endeavour. The critical discourse analysis offered in this article reveals how dominant narratives about residential schools, cited by well-meaning educators, re-inscribe harmful colonial subjectivities about Aboriginal peoples. Through a post-structural lens and drawing from interviews conducted across one prairie province, I demonstrate how citing popular, contemporary discourses about residential schools continues to racialize Aboriginal peoples while positioning non-Aboriginal peoples as supportive and historically conscious. Readers are brought to think about how learning about residential schools for reconciliation might be approached as the disruption of subjectivities and the refusal to (re)pathologize Aboriginal peoples. Otherwise, efforts at reconciliation risk re-inscribing the racism that justified residential schools in their inception.
Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE). 260 Dalhousie Street Suite 204, Ottawa, ON K1N 7E4, Canada. Tel: 613-241-0018; Fax: 613-241-0019; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A