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Message from the First President

Dr. David T. Barnard, President and Vice-Chancellor

The University of Manitoba is honoured to host the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR).

With this responsibility, the university honours its commitment to build respectful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. The NCTR provides opportunities for Survivors, families of Survivors, researchers, students, and the public to interact with the oral and documented history of residential schools.

We feel that recognizing the harms done by residential schools, and learning from them, is important to the future of all Canadians, and we are committed to ensuring that the NCTR is used by as many people as possible. We want teachers to share these stories with their students, and parents to share them with their children. We want scholars from our university, our province, our country and around the world to search these records for the profound truths they contain.

Most of all, we want this unique national archive to be accessible to Survivors and their families, so they can connect with the documents, histories and stories that were kept locked away for so long. Our university has embraced the journey of reconciliation and our campuses and the NCTR are places where members of the Indigenous community can share, learn and celebrate rich traditions and histories.

The University of Manitoba has a strong commitment to Indigenous education and to reconciliation. In October 2011, we became the first post-secondary institution in Canada to offer a formal Statement of Apology and Reconciliation to Residential School Survivors. We apologized for failing to recognize or challenge the forced assimilation of Indigenous peoples and the subsequent loss of their languages, culture and traditions. We continue to take active steps that engage both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in dialogue, and create new relationships based on mutual understanding and respect.

On behalf of the university, I gratefully acknowledge our extensive network of partners in this journey, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada for its confidence in all of us.

We promise to be responsible keepers of the stories that have been gathered and the work still being done. It is our honour to do so.

Dr. David T. Barnard

President and Vice-Chancellor

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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.