Reconciliation and Conflict: A Review of Practice
In this article I provide a review of two connected events. The first is the conference "Prairie Perspectives on Indian Residential Schools, Truth and Reconciliation," which was held in June 2010 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This conference was just one of many concurrent events taking place at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's first national event. Specific themes and aspects of the conference are covered here. Secondly, I parallel my discussion of the conference to my experiences with the national event - experiences can be complex and do not happen in isolation from the broader context around them.
Overall, I argue that while the conference and the national event made some meaningful contributions to ongoing dialogue about reconciliation in Canada, it is clear that understanding how to deal with and discuss the conflict that arises from discussions of residential school, "race relations," and reconciliation more broadly is an ongoing learning experience. I offer some recommendations concerning how conflict could be better dealt with at future conferences and national events. Reconciliation processes can be more effective if there is not only space for dissent but, most importantly, that mechanisms are in place for encouraging productive discussions about the conflict that arises and that will continue to arise.
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