Steven Rita-Procter – Final Report on the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Dr. Steven Rita-Procter is a postdoctoral researcher at the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies at York University. His research focuses on the role of testimony and historical narratives in international criminal tribunals and truth commissions. He has published on a number of topics, including transitional justice, comparative genocide studies, and the contributions of arts and culture to the project of national reconciliation. He has attended the ongoing human rights trials in Argentina as both a trial monitor and as an honorary witness.
While the Final Report on the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission has quickly become the primary document in the proliferation of an ever-emerging national consciousness of this shameful chapter in Canadian history, Dr. Rita-Procter’s talk pays careful attention to the unique mode of “looking” that the report fosters. In adhering to the strict set of legal mandates that govern the TRC – namely, that the report is required to abstain from “naming names” or of intimating, in any other way, the identities of perpetrators – this lecture rigorously examines the degree to which the Final Report casts the victims of the residential schools in a way that provokes the scopophilic impulses of the non-Indigenous reader, while providing an important window into the ways in which collective memories operate between discrete racial communities, and how truth commission reports demarcate the very communities of memory upon which they act.