Meet the Survivors Circle
Residential school Survivors gave Indigenous and non-Indigenous people the opportunity to begin this journey: The gift of reconciliation. It was Survivors that demanded government and church entities to be held responsible and held accountable for their actions. They also called for the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). Survivors continue to be the foundation of truth and reconciliation work in this country.
A seven-member Survivors Circle guides the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR). These members:
- Ensure that Survivors’ voices and perspectives remain central to NCTR programs and policies
- Provide guidance and advice to the NCTR, the Governing Circle, the University of Manitoba and partners on anything important to the broader Survivor community.
“I had great pleasure serving on the first Survivors Circle of the NCTR. It is important to have the Survivor voice in the development and decision making of the Centre. This will ensure inclusivity, balance and truth in the reflection of “our legacy” for future generations.” ~ Terri Brown, Survivor and the Chair of the NCTR founding Survivors Circle
Lila Bruyere, Dancing Eagle Woman, is Ojibway from Counchiching First Nation located on Treaty 3 Territory. She has raised three…
Lila Bruyere, Dancing Eagle Woman, is Ojibway from Counchiching First Nation located on Treaty 3 Territory. She has raised three sons on her own. She is a grandmother to seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Lila is a Residential School and an intergenerational Survivor. She attended St. Margaret’s Residential School in Fort Frances, Ontario, as did her parents and siblings.
Lila has worked in the field of addictions for 15 years. She received certifications in Addictions, earned her Bachelor of Honours of Social Work (HBSW) from Carleton University and completed her Masters in Social Work – Indigenous Field of Study at Wilfred Laurier University.
Lila’s goal is to continue passing on her message of hope to other Survivors to begin their healing journey. To do this, she developed, with her son, a workshop titled Intergeneration: Mother & Son’s Healing Journey. Also, she is writing a book about resiliency, to give hope and to help fellow Survivors.
Wanbdi Wakita is a Dakota Spiritual Leader who has spent a lifetime making prayers for people. As a residential school…
Wanbdi Wakita is a Dakota Spiritual Leader who has spent a lifetime making prayers for people. As a residential school survivor, peacekeeper with the Canadian Armed Forces, Chief of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation and Sundance Chief, Wanbdi has walked many paths. For over three decades he provided counseling and ceremony to inmates in various Correctional Institutions. Presently he is the Grandfather in Residence for the University of Manitoba Access Program. In 2016 he received the Order of Manitoba for his lifelong work to champion a message of healing and unity between all nations. Wanbdi possesses a rare breadth of traditional, cultural, and sacred knowledge.
Phyllis Googoo is a member of the Waycobah First Nation. She and her husband Bernie are the proud parents of…
Phyllis Googoo is a member of the Waycobah First Nation. She and her husband Bernie are the proud parents of three children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. As a Mi’kmaw speaker and life-long advocate of the Mi’kmaw language, Phyllis raised her children to be fluent in Mi’kmaq. Phyllis has also always loved teaching.
She is a graduate of the Nova Scotia Teachers College and St. Francis Xavier University, and currently works and teaches at the Waycobah First Nation School. Phyllis is an Assembly of First Nation Regional Elder, and a member of the We’koqma’q Elders Council, the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association, and the women’s drum group We’koqma’qewiskwa’q. In 2008, she received the Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. Elder Achievement Award recognizing her lifelong contribution to the Mi’kmaw community.
Jimmy Durocher was raised by his Métis grandmother whom Jimmy identifies as his role model of strength and resilience. He…
Jimmy Durocher was raised by his Métis grandmother whom Jimmy identifies as his role model of strength and resilience. He attended the Île-à-la-Crosse Boarding School in Northern Saskatchewan and is currently the Chairperson of the Île-à-la-Crosse Residential School Committee. He is a Veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force, board member of the Gabriel Dumont Institute and a former President of the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan. Fluent in both Michif and Cree, Jimmy is currently the President of the Métis local in Île-à-la-Crosse.
A Cree from the Muskeg Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan, Eugene Arcand spent nine years at the St. Michael Indian…
A Cree from the Muskeg Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan, Eugene Arcand spent nine years at the St. Michael Indian Residential School in Duck Lake and two years at the St. Paul’s Lebret Students Residence, both in Saskatchewan. First Nation Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Mr. Arcand has dedicated much of his time to organizing regional and national events – First Nations sports events, cultural events, tourism events, and events geared to the advancement of First Nations youth.
Over the past few years, through the Indian Residential Schools Survivor Committee at the TRC and the NCTR Governing Circle, Eugene has worked to ensure that both the public and Survivor communities are kept informed of the developments and processes associated with the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement. Eugene was successful because of the support and love of his family and wife Lorna Arcand, who he has been married to for 48 years.Together, they raised three children, seven grandchildren and three chapan.
Garnet is Anishinaabe originally from the traditional territory of the Lac Seul First Nation. He left there to attend Pelican Indian…
Garnet is Anishinaabe originally from the traditional territory of the Lac Seul First Nation. He left there to attend Pelican Indian Residential School near Sioux Lookout, ON from 1963 to 1969. He graduated from the School of Journalism at the University of Western Ontario in London, ON. Garnet worked for many years at Wawatay Native Communications Society in northern Ontario. He also worked at CBC Thunder Bay.
Garnet has been a strong supporter for residential school survivors at the national, regional and local levels. He was a board member of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.
He has worked to bridge relations and is an advocate for reconciliation between Canada and Indigenous people. In 2012 he was made a member of the Order of Canada. He is also a recipient of the 2002 Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal and the 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal.
Phyllis Webstad is Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe Creek Indian Band). She comes from mixed…
Phyllis Webstad is Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe Creek Indian Band). She comes from mixed Secwepemc and Irish/French heritage, was born in Dog Creek, and lives in Williams Lake, BC. Today, Phyllis is married, has one son, a step-son and five grandchildren. She is the Executive Director of the Orange Shirt Society, and tours the country telling her story and raising awareness about the impacts of the residential school system. She has now published two books, the “Orange Shirt Story” and “Phyllis’s Orange Shirt” for younger children.
She earned diplomas in Business Administration from the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology; and in Accounting from Thompson Rivers University. Phyllis received the 2017 TRU Distinguished Alumni Award for her unprecedented impact on local, provincial, national and international communities through the sharing of her orange shirt story.
Previous Survivor Circle Members
Meet the 2017-2019 Survivors Circle
NCTR’s spirit name – bezhig miigwan, meaning “one feather”.
Bezhig miigwan calls upon us to see each Survivor coming to the NCTR as a single eagle feather and to show those Survivors the same respect and attention an eagle feather deserves. It also teaches we are all in this together — we are all one, connected, and it is vital to work together to achieve reconciliation.