Decolonization, Reconciliation, and the Extra-Rational Potential of the Arts

cheyanne turions
March 23, 2016

On 11 June 2008, the gravity of a state-sponsored process that began more than 120 years earlier was finally acknowledged in the Canadian House of Commons. Inside the chamber, settler leaders of the country’s four main political parties had gathered together with Indigenous[1] community members to offer an apology for the Canadian Indian residential school system, thus marking the Canadian state’s formal acknowledgment of the emotional, cultural and physical abuses that the forced re-education system wrought on the Indigenous people of Canada. To lay the foundation for a possible reconciliation between cultures based on truth-telling, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in a speech delivered to parliament in Ottawa and broadcast on the national television, began the process of recognizing the atrocities that settler colonialism[2] and white supremacism have brought to the Indigenous people of this land.

Following a long period of colonization across the North American continent, established settler colonies confederated as the Canadian state in 1867. It took nearly another decade until the passage of the Indian Act, in 1876, where settler forms of governance asserted legislative dominion over the many Indigenous people who had been living on the land now named Canada for millennia. In articulating the terms of relation between the Canadian state and Indigenous people from a settler perspective, the Act does two main things: it delimits how bands (legally recognized First Nations communities) and reserves (parcels of state land set aside for use by bands) can operate, and it confers legalized Indigenous identity (in other words, defining who the “Indians” of the Indian Act are).

The founding motivations for the Indian Act, “as stated by its drafters, was to administer Indian affairs in such a way that Indian people would feel compelled to renounce their Indian status and join Canadian civilization as full members: a process called enfranchisement.”[3] In this sense, the Indian Act is not an extension of earlier treaties signed between Indigenous communities and settlers, but rather a unilateral legal response to the treaties that attempts to codify, at the federal level, their interpretation and scope.

The Indian Act remains in place to this day.

At least four generations of Indigenous people in Canada have been subjected to overt assimilation policies at the hands of the Canadian state.

In 1884, an amendment to the Act saw the establishment of the residential school system, whereby Indigenous children were mandated by law to learn to read and write in English. Although these kinds of schools had been operating informally for some time, this marked a coordinated shift in federal effort “from fostering the autonomy of native populations through industry to assimilating them through education.”[4] The plain intentions of this system were based upon the assumption that “Aboriginal cultures and spiritual beliefs were inferior and unequal” to  Euro-Canadian and Christian ways of living, and were infamously articulated as intending to “killing the Indian in the child.” Harper acknowledged as much during the Apology in 2008.[5] This network of boarding schools was administered by Christian churches with the belief that by removing Indigenous children from their families and cultures, that they could be enculturated into European modes of existence, but as second-class citizens. The education provided by the system was rudimentary, “provid[ing] Aboriginal students with an inferior education [inferior on the state’s own terms, compared to the education offered to non-Indigenous children], often only up to grade five, that focused on training students for manual labour.”[6]

When the last federally run residential school closed in 1996,[7] the program had been in operation for more than 100 years. Generously estimating the length of a generation at 25 years, this means that at least four generations of Indigenous people in Canada have been subjected to overt assimilation policies at the hands of the Canadian state. To be sure, Canadian cultural, educational and political systems continue to operate with assimilationist, white supremacist agendas, from a longstanding disregard by Conservative federal governments to create a public inquiry into the abhorrent plague of missing and murdered Indigenous women across the country,[8] to the wildly disproportionate representation of Indigenous people in Canada’s prison system,[9] to the demonization of band governance through legislation like Bill C-27 (formerly C-575), the First Nations Financial Transparency Act.[10] The pointed and dispersed traumas by which  settler colonialism conditions the lives of Indigenous people is intergenerational and ongoing. The Apology marks a significant moment of critical self-reflection on behalf of the Canadian state, but this alone does not adequately address the scope of harm that settler colonialism has effected upon the self-determination of Indigenous people in Canada.

Nine days prior to the Canadian state’s Apology for the atrocities of the residential school system, the government established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to uncover the truth about the schools for settlers (this truth had long been known in Indigenous communities). The establishment of the TRC was itself a consequence of the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, which also included token financial compensation to survivors and a series of commemorative events.[11] Long plagued by stories of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, which was acknowledged but could not be dealt with in the Apology, the TRC held out the promise of affirming to the stories of survivors with the reciprocal obligation of proposing cultural reparations for acknowledged wrong-doings on behalf of the state, which have been mostly articulated in the terms of bearing witness and relationship building. The stated goals include to “learn the truth about what happened in the residential schools and to inform all Canadians about what happened in the schools,” to “document the truth of what happened by relying on records held by those who operated and funded the schools, testimony from officials of the institutions that operated the schools, and experiences reported by survivors, their families, communities and anyone personally affected by the residential school experience and its subsequent impacts,” where reconciliation is imagined as “an ongoing individual and collective process that will require participation from all those affected by the residential school experience. This includes First Nations, Inuit, and Métis former students, their families, communities, religious groups, former Indian Residential School employees, government, and the people of Canada.”[12]

Untitled by Krista Belle Stewart
Untitled by Krista Belle Stewart

Responses to the establishment of the TRC have been varied. In her book Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada (2010), Paulette Regan, the Director of Research for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, registers the breadth of skepticism: “some [critics of the commission] say that genuine reconciliation is impossible until Indigenous people’s right to self-determination is recognized, treaties are honoured, restitution is made for appropriated lands and resources, and socio-economic, health, and education outcomes improve substantively. Other view the TRC as a whitewash designed by government and churches to cover up genocide.[[13]] Still others envision it as a massive public exercise in either inducing or alleviating settler guilt.”[14] Much of this skepticism surely stems from the fact that the TRC, like the residential school system, is a mechanism of the state, coordinated for the economic and social benefit of the state over Indigenous people’s rights to justice on their own terms.[15] What is clear to all involved, to those who have politely declined to participate and those who have more actively resisted,[16] is that the TRC is itself not enough to enact the healing it points toward. Alongside the testimony gathering, other kinds of reconciliation are unfolding. Chief among these are discourses of decolonization.

Etymologically, the prefix “de–,” indicating privation, removal or separation, suggests that decolonization is an undoing of colonialism, but given the complexity of colonial dispossession, it is anything but clear what this undoing implies.

Does the decolonial action effect any real redistribution of power, resources and privilege?

In an article published in the journal Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, scholars Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang forcefully assert that “decolonization” should not be used metaphorically. They hold that decolonization “is not converting Indigenous politics to a Western doctrine of liberation; it is not a philanthropic process of ‘helping’ the at-risk and alleviating suffering; it is not a generic term for struggle against oppressive conditions and outcomes. The broad umbrella of social justice may have room underneath for all of these efforts. By contract, decolonization specifically requires the repatriation of Indigenous land and life[17] (emphasis mine). Their point is meant to emphasize the ways that social justice work runs the risk of replicating colonial dispossession by performing settler moves to innocence. These moves are the kinds of activities that are probably meant well, but that nonetheless replicate colonial power relations. An easy measure of a move to innocence (rather than the radical act of decolonization) is the emotional relief it can bring the practitioner and the more-or-less unchanged landscape it leaves behind. Tuck and Yang define settler moves to innocence as “those strategies or positionings that attempt to relieve the settler of feelings of guilt or responsibility without giving up land or power or privilege, without having to change much at all. In fact, settler scholars may gain professional kudos or a boost in their reputations for being so sensitive or self-aware. Yet settler moves to innocence are hollow, they only serve the settler.” [18] This definition clearly places the impetus for decolonization on the settler and provides a grand, if hard to calculate, register for the efficacy of decolonization: does the decolonial action effect any real redistribution of power, resources and privilege?

Part of what Tuck and Yang’s strict definition accomplishes is drawing attention to the ways that social justice work skirts the difficult, messy possibility of the repatriation of land and resources away from settlers, returned to the purview Indigenous people. But what understandings like their’s miss is how settler colonialism is realized on and through the body.[19] For instance, ideas such as blood quantum have been arranged historically to only ever benefit colonial economic imperatives. The scholar Patrick Wolfe, who specialized in the study of settler colonialism, articulated a profound difference in the ways colonization and settler colonialism are deployed across what he called the organizing grammar of race.[20] [21] Speaking specifically about how settler colonialism has unfolded in the United States, he precisely maped its self-sustaining logic:

Black people’s enslavement produced an inclusive taxonomy that automatically enslaved the offspring of a slave and any other parent. In the wake of slavery, this taxonomy became fully racialized in the “one-drop rule,” whereby any amount of African ancestry, no matter how remote, and regardless of phenotypical appearance, makes a person Black. For Indians, in stark contrast, non-Indian ancestry compromised their indigeneity, producing “half-breeds,” a regime that persists in the form of blood quantum regulations. As opposed to enslaved people, whose reproduction augmented their owners’ wealth, Indigenous people obstructed settlers’ access to land, so their increase was counterproductive. In this way, the restrictive racial classification of Indians straightforwardly furthered the logic of elimination.[22]

Other tactics of elimination include stipulations in the Indian Act that terminate Indian status along specifically gendered lines (an example of the intersectionality of racism and patriarchy), where a women with Indian status would lose it if she married a non-status man, thereby also losing “treaty benefits, health benefits, the right to live on her reserve, the right to inherit her family property, and even the right to be buried on the reserve with her ancestors.”[23] Status men are free to marry whomever without threat of losing of their Indian status under the law. It was not until the mid-1980s, under pressure from the United Nations, where this aspect of the Indian Act had been declared a human rights abuse, that the Canadian government amended the law with Bill C-31. But again working to eliminate Indigenous identity through the legislation of female bodies, the amendment returns status to women who had been stripped of it, but only for a single generation. As it stands now, for the woman’s whose status is reinstated, her grandchildren will still be denied status, thus working to terminate cultural identity through legalistic mechanisms.

These different understandings of the term hint at the breadth of possible strategies for enacting decolonization: legalistic in the case of the TRC; socially in the case of unsettling settler perspectives; economically and spatially in the case of repatriating Indigenous lands and resources to Indigenous people; politically as with recognizing the legitimacy of Indigenous forms of law and order; and through the body, by amending sexist laws. Realistically, the moral imperative of substantive and meaningful decolonization that unfolds from Indigenous self-determination will require a convergence of these tactics, however incommensurable they may be in operation, to account for the insidious complexity with which settlers have justified their ongoing colonial project on the North American continent (and elsewhere).

No doubt cultural forms are implicated in the decolonial process as a measure of the undoing. Given the recent proliferation with which the term “decolonial” circulates in the art world, it would seem that artists and curators are fully convinced that their aesthetic gestures can have this particular kind of social consequence.[24] To be explicit, I count myself among these cultural workers: I believe that aesthetic forms make important contributions to the broad project of decolonization, a belief that hinges on the conviction that exhibition spaces are civic spaces, and that artistic and curatorial practices are political gestures. Encounters with contemporary culture (here, the term being used more-or-less for synonym for what happens in and around the art world) constitute important contributions to the production of civic space, inciting the potential to change the way we live. “Decolonization” implies revolution. It instigates a shifting terrain of social relationality that, when applied to cultural production, assumes a connection between what has been and what is to come, encouraged and enacted through aesthetic forms. But I am not always sure what the term “decolonization” actually connotes in its usage. What referents attach to “decolonization” when it is named in regard to aesthetic practices?

Explicitly beginning with the work of Transnational Decolonial Institute and their Decolonial Aesthetics manifesto,[25] attempts have been made to translate the decolonial impulse into aesthetic practices. Drawing from the manifesto, a 2013 symposium held in Toronto described the work of decolonial aesthetics in this way: “Decolonial aesthetics acknowledges and subverts the presence of colonial power and control in the realm of the senses. A decolonial option refers to a theoretical, practical or methodological choice geared toward de-linking aesthetics, at the epistemic level, from the discourse of colonialism that is embedded in modernity itself. It is an alternative approach that challenges the hegemony of modern/colonial aesthetics.”[26] While I find a concrete definition of decolonial aesthetics hard to parse from the manifesto or its attendant iterations, it is clear that it involves the creation of a world otherwise, other from the colonial forms of dispossession that have come to characterize the corrupt and sly deployment of white supremacy across the North American continent. At the heart of such an other world are Indigenous forms of knowledge. The scholar David Garneau distinguishes a land-based decolonization of the type articulated by Tuck and Yang from a less tangible, but I believe no less important, cultural decolonization in this way:

cultural decolonization is the perpetual struggle to make both Indigenous and settler peoples aware of the complexity of our shared colonial condition, and how this legacy informs every person and institution in these territories. The soft hope is that education will lead to improvements in the lives of Aboriginal people—as Canadians. The more radical desire is that Canadians and their institutions will Indigenize…Cultural decolonization in the Canadian context is about at once unsettling settlers and, ironically, helping them to adapt to better settle themselves as noncolonial persons within Indigenous spaces. More ambitiously, it is also about First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people becoming themselves neither through forced assimilation into non-Indigenous modes, nor by retreating to a reconstructed, anachronistic Indigenous cultural purity, but by struggling to make new ways of being Indigenous within the complex of the contemporary negotiations of Aboriginal/settler/international Indigenous identities.[27]

Recognizing that culture, in the sense of “cultural decolonization” does not overlap perfectly with artistic practices, Garneau goes on to delineate the extra-rational potential of art, which he implies is the specific capacity of aesthetic practices: “Art is the site of intolerable research, the laboratory of odd ideas, of sensual and intuitive study, and of production that exceeds the boundaries of conventional disciplines, protocols and imaginaries…in the making and appreciation of art there is a space of difference, even resistance, where people can find refuge from the ideas that otherwise rule them.”[28] The space of art is a space of possibility where ideas need not be grounded in the facts of the way the world is, where ideas can be proposed aside from feasibility concerns and outside of regular social protocols. It allows for propositions to be made that resist articulation elsewhere, such as in the realm of politics proper. Granted, not all art makes claims to radical politics, but Garneau seems to be suggesting that some art does make this claim and that in some cases, the impulse succeeds by shifting the terms of what is conceived of as possible. Art can become a root for an idea, where the terms of its possible manifestation shift.

I believe that aesthetic forms make important contributions to the broad project of decolonization, a belief that hinges on the conviction that exhibition spaces are civic spaces, and that artistic and curatorial practices are political gestures.

On 15 December 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its Final Report (weighing in at nearly 4000 pages), drawing to a close that formal TRC process begun in 2008. The report includes 94 Calls to Action that are mostly directed to the federal government and its agencies, but the time has come to grapple with what it means to be stewards of this difficult history, as citizens of Indigenous ancestry or as settlers, who may or may not work directly with the government or its ancillary bodies. At the federal level, positive steps have been taken by the newly appointed Liberal government to respond the Calls to Action. Their general statements of intending to comply with the entire slate of the recommendations coming from the TRC report have been most visible, perhaps, in the creation of a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (Call to Action #41).[29]

Culturally, although the report only makes mention of arts community in relation to commemoration projects (Calls to Action 79-83), I believe it is our duty as cultural workers to engage the document: is there a way to leverage the extra-rational potential of art to allow for a decolonial future to take root? What role can cultural production play in making an Indigenized future for the people gathered on land now known as Canada? In this difficult work, the report should be approached critically, recognizing it as fundamentally an articulation sponsored by the Canadian state. The decolonial future we dream of must be Indigenously self-determined, and so this robust engagement with the report should happen in dialogue with a plurality and diversity of Indigenous voices, recognizing that perhaps the whole idea of reconciliation is incompatible with decolonization. Scholar and poet Billy-Ray Belcourt perfectly sums up this tension:

Reconciliation is stubbornly ambivalent in its potentiality, an object of desire that we’re not entirely certain how to acquire or substantiate, but one that the state—reified through the bodies of politicians, Indigenous or otherwise—is telling us we need … reconciliation works insofar as it is a way of looking forward to being in this world, at the expense of more radical projects like decolonization that want to experiment with different strategies for survival … What I am trying to get at is: reconciliation works insofar as it is a way of looking forward to being in this world, at the expense of more radical projects like decolonization that want to experiment with different strategies for survival.[30]

Is there a way to leverage the extra-rational potential of art to allow for a decolonial future to take root?

The horror of residential schooling as one manifestation of the colonial project, and the TRC as a gesture of reconciliation, should not be interpreted as a fulsome and adequate redress to our shared history. So while the commission has closed its doors, this is merely the transfer of obligation to Canadian citizens—settler, Indigenous, immigrant, refugee—to approach our relationality critically.

The distance is vast between rhetoric and action, and the ease of the former cannot displace the difficulty of the latter. The extra-rational potential of art gives us a way to consider the means of working toward a decolonized, Indigenized future other than through state sponsored and articulated processes of reconciliation. The extra-rational potential art is one way of interrogating the possible consequences of reconciliation and a place where needed alternatives can come into being. Our creative cultural practices are necessary for this future because they instantiate ways of thinking and being in relation that resist articulation elsewhere. Here, refuge from the ideas that otherwise rule us.


[1] Following a politic laid out in political theorist Glen Coulthard’s book Red Skin, White Masks, I have throughout this essay used the terms “Indigenous” and “Aboriginal” interchangeably to refer to descendants of those who traditionally occupied the territory now know as Canada before the arrival of the European settlers and state powers. “Indian” and “First Nations” are legal terms made in reference to the legislation of the Indian Act. Sources quoted throughout do not necessarily use language in this way.

Glen Sean Coulthard, Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014), 181.

[2] Settler colonialism is a specific form of colonization whereby the chief object of plunder is land rather than natural resources or human labour, and where the colonial process is ongoing, working to undo itself as a process at all by way of generating a seeming inevitability to settler rule accomplished, in large part, by working to erase Indigenous forms of life. Tuck and Yang insist that “settler colonialism is different from other forms of colonialism in that settlers come with the intention of making a new home on the land, a homemaking that insists on settler sovereignty over all things in their new domain.” [1] Snelgrove, Dhamoon and Corntassel state that the “politics of settler colonialism distinctly sharpens the focus on ongoing colonialism, the dispossession of Indigenous lands, and the actual/attempted elimination of Indigenous peoples.” [2]

  • [1] Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, “Decolonization is not a metaphor,” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2012): 5.
  • [2] Corey Snelgrove, Rita Kaur Dhamoon and Jeff Corntassel, “Unsettling settler colonialism: The discourse and politics of settlers, and solidarity with Indigenous nations,” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, Vol.3, No. 2 (2014): 2.

[3] “Indian Act,” Wikipedia, accessed 18 April 2015,

[4] “A timeline of residential schools, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” CBC News, last modified 25 March 2015,

[5] Erin Hanson, “The Residential School System,”, accessed 18 April 2015,

[6] Ibid.

[7] “A timeline of residential schools, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”

[8] In an interview with Peter Mansbridge in late 2014, Stephen Harper indicated his lack of interest in convening a commission by saying, “Um it, it isn’t really high on our radar, to be honest, Peter.” “Full text of Peter Mansbridge’s interview with Stephen Harper,” CBC News, last modified 04 February 2015,

[9] According to the Government of Canada’s Office of the Correctional Investigator, “while Aboriginal people make up about 4% of the Canadian population, as of February 2013, 23.2% of the federal inmate population is Aboriginal (First Nation, Métis or Inuit).” [1] A recent McLean’s article is so bold as to declare, as its title, “Canada’s prisons are the ‘new residential schools’.” [2]

[10] Dr. Pamela D. Palmater has been outspoken about the racist stereotypes the legislation propagates. For instance, see “Stephen Harper and the myth of the crooked Indian,”, accessed 18 April 2015,

[11] Complete details about the agreement are outlined on the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada website here:

[12] “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada,” Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, accessed 18 April 2015,

[13] On 25 September 2009, at a G20 summit in Pittsburg, Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, infamously proclaimed that Canada has “no history of colonialism. So we have all of the things that many people admire about the great powers but none of the things that threaten or bother them” [1]. These comments were made, incredibly, after the Apology, where Harper had stated that the “two primary objectives of the residential schools system were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures, and to assimilate them into the dominant culture…We now recognize that, far too often, these institutions gave rise to abuse or neglect and were inadequately controlled” [2]. Heeding the United Nations definition of the term, which includes “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group and “forcibly transferring children of the group to another group,” [3] Harper’s later comments are in direct contravention of the commonly accepted definition of “genocide.” Scholar Erin Hanson connects the UN definition to Canadian policy in this way: “Because the government’s and the churches’ intent was to eradicate all aspects of Aboriginal culture in these young people and interrupt its transmission from one generation to the next, the residential school system is commonly considered a form of cultural genocide” [4].

[14] Paulette Regan, Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2010): 10.

[15] Drawing on the idea of Elizabeth Povinelli, Coulthard notes that “colonial powers will only recognize the collective rights and identities of Indigenous peoples insofar as this recognition does not jeopardize the structural underpinnings of the colonial relationship itself.” Power cannot help but be fundamentally conservative. Glen S. Coulthard, “Subjects of Empire: Indigenous Peoples and the ‘Politics of Recognition’ in Canada,” Contemporary Political Theory 6 (2007): 451.

[16] The construction of the TRC is a consequence of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. According to Regan, the agreement was articulated to address, in bulk, “over twelve thousand individual abuse claims and several class-action lawsuits filed on behalf of approximately seventy thousand former [Indian residential school] students against the federal government and church entities who shared joint responsibility for the schools.” [1] The passage of the agreement was based upon an federally determined maximum allowable opt-out, which has been described by journalist Kerry Coast: “The Settlement Agreement was foisted on the Survivors as an ultimatum: if too many people dropped out, 5,000 or more, no one would be paid [the federally administered Common Experience Payment] at all…the Agreement then closed the door to court action against church or state by anyone who had lost their ‘language, culture and family life’, by asserting that the matter had been lawfully concluded by the government’s posting of public notices of its intention to do so and advertising the details.” [2] As an example of the conservative nature of power mentioned in the note above, Coast details that before the Settlement Agreement, court cases were being “awarded damages approaching the million dollar mark.” The Common Experience payments were administered at a significantly lower rate. According to Service Canada, “eligible applicants may receive $10,000 for the first school year (or partial school year) of residence at one or more residential schools, plus an additional $3,000 for each subsequent school year (or partial school year) of residence at one or more residential schools.” [3]

[17] Tuck and Yang, “Decolonization is not a metaphor,” 21.

[18] Ibid.

[19] I am thankful to Tanya Lukin Linklater for pointing this out to me.

[20] Presumably Wolfe used this kind of language, the “organizing grammar of race,” to draw attention to the fact that race is a social construction, not a biological fact.

[21] Patrick Wolfe passed away on 18 February 2016. His scholarship has deeply informed my understanding of settler colonialism. Rest in power.

[22] Patrick Wolfe, “Settler colonialism and the elimination of the native,” Journal of Genocide Research, vol. 8, no. 4 (2006): 387-388.

[23] Erin Hanson, “The Indian Act,”, accessed 18 April 2015,

[24] Some recent examples of the idea being taken up by artistic and curatorial practices include FUSE Magazine’s Fall 2013 issue on decolonial aesthetics, Heather Igloliorte’s touring exhibition Decolonize Me (Ottawa Art Gallery, 2011; Robert McLaughlin Art Gallery, 2012; Art Gallery of Windsor, 2013; Foreman Art Gallery, 2013; Thunder Bay Art Gallery, 2014; The Reach Gallery Museum, 2015) and Eyal Weizman’s Decolonizing Architecture project, among many others.

[25] The manifesto can be found online here:

[26] e-fagia, FUSE Magazine and Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, “Symposium on Decolonial Aesthetics from the Americas,” Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, accessed 19 April 2015,

[27] David Garneau, “Extra-Rational Aesthetic Action and Cultural Decolonization,” FUSE Magazine, vol. 36 no. 4 (2013): 15-16.

[28] Ibid.

[29] In a statement released by the Prime Minister’s office, to coincide with the release of the TRC’s final report, Justin Trudeau states that “we will, in partnership with Indigenous communities, the provinces, territories, and other vital partners, fully implement the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.” “Statement by Prime Minister on Release of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, accessed 20 February 2016,

[30] Billy-Ray Belcourt, “Political Depression in a Time of Reconciliation,”, accessed 20 February 2016,

cheyanne turions

cheyanne turions

cheyanne turions is an independent writer and curator concerned with art's capacity to provoke otherwise possibilities. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include projects with the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, the Audain Gallery (Vancouver), Gallery TPW (Toronto), Mercer Union (Toronto) and SBC galerie d'art contemporain (Montréal). She has published widely, including with Afterall, the Banff Centre, Canadian Art, C Magazine, Hyperallergic and the Vera List Center. In 2017, she participated in documenta 14. She is currently the Director of Education and Public Programs at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and sits on the board of directors for 221A.

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