Share Your Experience
The spiritual core of the NCTR will forever be the statements, documents, and other materials gathered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). This is a sacred bundle that the NCTR will protect and preserve for all time, for the benefit of all Canadians.
But this is just the beginning – a gateway to a mandate that extends beyond residential schools. Supported by a network of partners and supporters nationally and internationally renowned for archival, academic and creative excellence, the NCTR will be a dynamic, living, ever-growing establishment and Indigenous Archive.
A Growing Collection
The collection at the NCTR Archives continues to grow. New materials, collections and statements continue to come to the Centre regularly.
The NCTR continues to invite Survivors, their families, and others whose lives have been impacted by residential schools to share their experiences in a safe and secure setting. The Centre also encourages community members to share their experiences of other Canadian assimilation policies. This encourages conversations on topics such as land claims, water rights, child and family services, education, poverty, and missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
The NCTR also works with Indigenous Peoples across Canada to archive sacred items and materials currently housed both in communities and organizations, as well as in government, religious, and other archives.
We will always provide a safe and trusted home for communities, individuals, and organizations to store their material – be it sacred oral histories or administrative records of their organization. The NCTR will also actively collect records on various issues and subject areas important to Indigenous communities across the country.
How to share
The Settlement Agreement says you can preserve your records for history at the NCTR.
The Centre can connect you with health supports to assist you during this process and you are welcome to bring extra people for support.
Your statement can take any form that you wish: written, audio, video, poetry, art, music, etc. There are no restrictions. If you wish, the NCTR will record your statement by a qualified Statement Gatherer for you.
If you are interested in sharing your residential school experience, please contact us at the NCTR directly.
You can also:
About the Statements
The NCTR received thousands of hours of video and audio recordings produced by the TRC during the course of its mandate. This footage was taken at the TRC’s various national and regional events, and includes both public and private statements made by Survivors, Intergenerational Survivors, and former staff members.
Types of Audio-Visual Records at the NCTR
Private statements were provided to the TRC by Survivors, Intergenerational Survivors, and former residential school staff. These statements represent the heart of the NCTR’s collection. They are not currently available to the general public, however those that gave a statement are welcome to contact us for a copy of their own statement.
Sharing circles were held across Canada at various TRC national, regional, and special events. Members of the TRC’s Survivor Committee were present for many of the circles.
Sharing panels were held across Canada at various TRC national, regional, and special events. Sharing Panels allowed speakers to share their statements directly with one of the Commissioners of the TRC.
In total, the NCTR cares for 202 special events.Special events refer to a wide range of events held by the TRC including expressions of reconciliation, calls to gather, honorary witness ceremonies, National events and performance art footage.
The TRC mini-docs were created throughout the Commission’s work across the country. Fusing music, interviews and Survivor testimony, these mini-documentaries bring the stories of residential school survivors to life.
The NCTR also houses additional audio and visual records received from private donors. These records are not yet publicly available
- Recording Locations
During the six years of its operation, the Commission held events in all parts of the country. The largest and most visible of these were the National Events held in Winnipeg, Inuvik, Halifax, Saskatoon, Montreal, Vancouver, and Edmonton between June 2010 and March 2014.
The TRC National Events
The Commission estimates there were as many as 155,000 visits to the seven National Events; over 9,000 residential school Survivors registered to attend them (while many others attended but did not register).
In recognition of specific community needs, two regional events were also held: one in Victoria, the other in Whitehorse. The TRC also held 238 days of local hearings in 77 communities across the country. National Events featured many different activities including sharing circles, sharing panels, private statement gathering, film screenings, performances, gestures of reconciliation and a wide range of panel discussions. Combined, video records provide a rich diversity of accounts and testimony from a wide cross-section of indigenous and non-indigenous people.
Additional statements were gathered through Community Events including two special sessions at correctional institutions in Kenora, Ontario, and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
Health-support workers, cultural support workers, and/or professional therapists were present everywhere the Commission gathered statements to provide support and counselling as needed.
A special project also ran to gather statements from former staff of residential schools. With the assistance of the church parties to the Settlement Agreement, the Commission conducted 96 separate interviews with former staff and the children of former staff.
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.