Skip to Content

Residential Schools and Reconciliation

J.R. Miller

“Reconciliation” is a word that has gained great currency of late. It has been frequently used in discussions surrounding the Idle No More movement during the winter of 2012-13. But the term has a longer history in discussions in Canada concerning Native-newcomer relations. Notably, Chief Justice Antonio Lamer in the Supreme Court of Canada’s rulings in both the Van der Peet and Delgamuukw cases in 1996-97 made the point that the purpose of Section 35 of the constitution adopted in 1982 was “the reconciliation of the pre-existence of aboriginal societies with the sovereignty of the Crown.” That conception of the place of reconciliation in Canadian life is also relevant to the topic of residential schools and their legacy.