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Why study the traumatic past? The educational legacy of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission… Davis, Brenda 2020

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 WHY STUDY THE TRAUMATIC PAST? THE EDUCATIONAL LEGACY OF CANADA’S TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION (TRC): EXPLORING RATIONALES FOR THE INCLUSION OF THE HISTORY OF INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS IN THE CURRICULUM  Brenda Darlene Davis  B.Ed., (distinction) The University of Alberta, 1984 LL.B., The University of Alberta, 1987 M.Ed., The University of Alberta, 1997 LL.M., York University (Osgoode Hall), 2008  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Curriculum Studies)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) August 2020 © Brenda Darlene Davis, 2020  ii  The following individuals certify that they have read, and recommend to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for acceptance, the dissertation entitled: Why study the traumatic past? Exploring rationales for including the history of Indian residential schools in the curriculum: The educational legacy of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).  submitted by Brenda Darlene Davis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy In Curriculum Studies  Examining Committee: Dr. William F. Pinar, Curriculum Studies  Supervisor  Dr. Vanessa Andreotti, Educational Studies Supervisory Committee Member  Dr. Cash Ahenakew, Educational Studies Supervisory Committee Member Dr. Cynthia Nicol, Curriculum Studies University Examiner   Dr. Andre Mazawi, Educational Studies    University Examiner  Dr. Dwayne Donald, Education - Secondary Education, The University of Alberta External University Examiner  iii  Abstract Why study the traumatic past?  This research question was a response to the CMEC commitment (July 2014) to require study of Indian residential school history in Canadian schools. Educators would need to justify engaging with difficult knowledge in the classroom, so in support of their efforts I set out to explore justifications for studying our traumatic past. First, I identified six groupings of justifications (rationale) based on literature from curriculum studies, Holocaust education literature and from the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Reports, Indigenous writing, contemporary political, social and artistic commentary, case law and legal analysis.  Identification of Six Rationale: 1) Historical Understanding; 2) Citizenship Education; 3) Existential Study; 4) Remembrance and Hearing the Voices of Survivors; 5) Call to Witness and Bearing Witness to the Traumatic Past; 6) Taking Steps Toward Reconciliation.  Rationales #3-#6 were based on the TRC approach to historical trauma, grounded in Indigenous legal protocols and Indigenous wisdom traditions, requiring listening, bearing witness and only then moving toward reconciliation. The first two rationales (#1-#2) fit within existing curriculum parameters of historical consciousness and citizenship education. However, the third rationale, existential understanding, is not typically a justification for educational endeavours, although arguably it is essential when studying the traumatic past. The purpose in exploring these iv  rationales is to enable educators to make better choices in response to this mandated curriculum and to further education discourse. My research approach is founded upon the concept of curriculum as a complicated conversation (Pinar, 2019) and the query: What might this national mandate to include the history of Indian residential schools mean in the complicated conversation that is Canadian curriculum studies? To this end, I explored each rationale using a research frame of verticality (historical antecedents of concepts and events) and horizontality (contemporary context) as connected to the CMEC commitment. A praxis of métissage was used to weave the threads of diverse voices into this curriculum conversation. Thus, both the research approach and content are a unique contribution to education with the hope educators make informed choices in addressing the CMEC mandate and further reconciliatory efforts in Canada. v  Lay Summary Why study the traumatic past? Canada’s top education officials decided ALL students must study Indian residential school history (CMEC, 2014) and I was curious: How do educators justify teaching about past trauma and what are their educational aims? I first identified and then explored six reasons (rationales) for such study: 1) Understanding History; 2) Citizenship Education; 3) Existential Study; 4) Hearing Victims Stories; 5) Bearing Witness; 6) Taking Steps Toward Reconciliation.  Each rationale is a lens through which an educator can explore the history of Indian residential schools. While each lens has educational benefits, it is the traditional Indigenous approach of first listening carefully to victim’s stories, then sharing what you heard and experienced with others through ‘bearing witness,’ that offers a profound educational experience that is premised on the importance of respect, relationship and ultimately reconciliation—the new 3 ‘R’s of education when studying the traumatic past.  vi  Preface This dissertation is original, unpublished, independent work by the author, Brenda. D. Davis.  vii  Table of Contents  Abstract ......................................................................................................................................... iii Lay Summary .................................................................................................................................v Preface ........................................................................................................................................... vi Table of Contents ........................................................................................................................ vii List of Abbreviations ................................................................................................................. xiii Acknowledgements .................................................................................................................... xiv Dedication ................................................................................................................................... xvi Foreword .................................................................................................................................... xvii 0.1 What Is My Story: How did I come to this research question? ................................. xviii 0.2 My ‘Call to Witness’ to the Traumatic Past................................................................ xxii 0.3 Formation of the Research Question – Why? ........................................................... xxvii 0.4 Métissage: A Narrative of Interwoven Voices and an Invitation .............................. xxix Chapter 1: Introduction ..............................................................................................................38 1.1 Legal Background ......................................................................................................... 39 1.2 CMEC Commitment to Difficult Knowledge ............................................................... 43 1.3 Curriculum: The Complicated Conversation ................................................................ 45 1.3.1 Rationale #1: Historical Understanding ................................................................ 54 1.3.2 Rationale #2: Citizenship Education ..................................................................... 54 1.3.3 Rationale #3: Existential Study ............................................................................. 56 1.3.4 Comments on the Groupings of Rationales .......................................................... 57 1.3.5 Rationale #4: Remembrance and Hearing the Voices of Survivors ..................... 58 viii  1.3.6 Rationale #5: Call to Witness and Bearing Witness to the Traumatic Past .......... 59 1.3.7 Rationale #6: Taking Steps Toward Reconciliation ............................................. 60 1.4 Conclusion .................................................................................................................... 61 Chapter 2: Verticality, Horizontality and the Study of the Traumatic Past ..........................68 2.1 Introduction: Research Method and Methodology ....................................................... 68 2.2 Case Study .................................................................................................................... 69 2.3 Disciplinarity: Verticality and Horizontality ................................................................ 71 2.4 A Complex Métissage: A Method That is Not a Method ............................................. 72 2.5 Clarification and Caveats: What the Study is Not ........................................................ 74 2.6 Difficult Knowledge and the Traumatic Past................................................................ 80 2.7 Application of Horizontality and Verticality to Study Origins of TRC ........................ 83 2.8 Cautions in the Classroom ............................................................................................ 88 2.9 Constraints and Aims of ‘Lessons’ in the Study of the Traumatic Past ....................... 93 2.10 Terms ............................................................................................................................ 97 Chapter 3: Studying the Traumatic Past and the Discipline of History ...............................101 3.1 Historical Consciousness and Learning to Become a ‘Skillful’ Historian ................. 101 3.2 The Academic Discipline of History: Historiography and Master Narratives............ 104 3.3 History Wars: Promoting More Inclusive and Complex Narratives of the Past ......... 110 3.4 Three Approaches to History Education in Canada .................................................... 116 3.5 Historical Consciousness: Learning History as a ‘Skillful’ Historian ........................ 118 3.6 Critique of Historic Consciousness ............................................................................. 121 3.7 Indigenous Worldview and Historical Consciousness ................................................ 123 3.8 Further Challenges: Western Historical Consciousness: ............................................ 126 ix  3.8.1 Basis for Reconciliation ...................................................................................... 126 3.8.2 Emotional Resistance .......................................................................................... 128 3.8.3 Victim and Survivor Testimony: The Study of Oral History ............................. 131 3.8.4 The TRC: Reliance Upon Written Records and Oral History ............................ 133 3.9 Conclusion .................................................................................................................. 138 Chapter 4: Citizenship Education ............................................................................................144 4.1 Introduction to Four Aspects of Citizenship Education:............................................. 144 4.2 Canadian Context ........................................................................................................ 146 4.2.1 Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Canada: Citizenship as Treaty Relationship ...... 148 4.2.2 Official Government Policy of Multiculturalism ................................................ 150 4.2.3 Canadian Constitution as a ‘Living Tree’ ........................................................... 154 4.3 Canada’s Unique Position Vis-à-vis Citizenship Education ....................................... 157 4.4 Four Identified Aims of Citizenship Education .......................................................... 159 4.5 Practices in Democratic and Indigenous Education.................................................... 164 4.6 Democratic Education ................................................................................................. 167 4.7 Human Rights Education ............................................................................................ 177 4.8 Social Justice Lens in Citizenship Education ............................................................. 186 4.9 Interpersonal Relations and Engagement With the ‘Other’ ........................................ 194 4.9.1 Social Emotional Learning (SEL) ....................................................................... 199 4.9.2 Restorative Justice Practices (RJP) ..................................................................... 202 4.10 Conclusion .................................................................................................................. 205 Chapter 5: Existential Understanding and Studying the Traumatic Past............................212 5.1 Introduction: Challenging Curriculum ........................................................................ 212 x  5.1.1 Challenge to Subjective Understanding – Requires Personal Choices ............... 213 5.1.2 Evokes Personal Unsettling and Vulnerability ................................................... 214 5.1.3 Raises Existential Questions – Generates Discomforting Emotions .................. 215 5.1.4 Fosters Personal Search for Meaning—Curriculum of ‘My Own Life’ ............. 216 5.2 Studying the Traumatic Past and Difficult Knowledge .............................................. 218 5.3 ‘Unsettling’—A Dynamic of Existential Understanding ............................................ 220 5.4 Dystopic Curriculum ................................................................................................... 223 5.5 Survivor Narratives: Risks and Rewards .................................................................... 228 5.6 Ways Forward: Remembrance and Transformational Education ............................... 232 5.7 Teacher Discomfort and Resistance............................................................................ 236 5.8 Conclusion .................................................................................................................. 245 Chapter 6: Stories and Testimony—Listening To, and Honouring, Survivors ...................252 6.1 Introduction ................................................................................................................. 252 6.2 The Importance of Hearing Survivor Stories and Witness Testimony ....................... 254 6.2.1 Sharing Traumatic Narratives: The Resilience and Courage of Survivors ......... 258 6.2.2 Understanding Curriculum Through Traumatic Testimony ............................... 259 6.3 Stories as a Gift ........................................................................................................... 260 6.4 Active Listening .......................................................................................................... 262 6.4.1 Cautions .............................................................................................................. 265 6.5 Acts of Remembrance: Honouring the Victims .......................................................... 267 6.6 Oral History ................................................................................................................ 268 6.7 Public Memory and Orality: To Know the Past Differently ....................................... 270 6.8 Ceremony and Orality: Hearing the Voice of the ‘Other’ .......................................... 273 xi  6.9 Orality, Meaning and Social Media ............................................................................ 274 6.10 Conclusion: Stories—P