Media practices and painful pasts: The public testimonial in Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission
From the 1870s through the 1990s, more than 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Metis children were enrolled in government-funded, church-run Indian Residential Schools (IRS) in Canada. The schools reflected policies aimed at assimilating Aboriginal peoples into majority culture. Many Aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their homes and suffered physical, sexual and psychological abuses. As part of its Mandate, Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) collects testimonials from residential school survivors in various mediated forms to create a historical record. This article explores the TRC's public statement-gathering process and the ways in which media practices shape and guide testimonials. It argues that the TRC encourages particular survivor narratives as it signals to speakers that they should anticipate the norms and uses of media and narrative guidelines. However, there is a layer of meta-narrative common in TRC statements, suggesting resistance to and subversion of the process. This article considers the nuances of First Nations testimonials against the backdrop of storytelling traditions.
|Journal||Media International Australia|
Brady, M. (2013). Media practices and painful pasts: The public testimonial in Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Media International Australia, (149), 128–138.