We in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga, situated on the territory of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit, offer our condolences to Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island. We mourn the deaths of the children being found on the grounds of former Indian Residential Schools, and all the deaths and sufferings caused by the residential school system. We acknowledge the genocidal policies and actions of the Canadian state; the historic and ongoing harms of settler colonialism to lands and those who dwell on them; and the complicity of academics in building and maintaining systems of oppression, which includes the University of Toronto’s role of having “educated generations of political leaders, policy makers, teachers, civil servants, and many others who were part of the system that created and ran the residential schools,” and failing “to investigate and challenge the system even when society began to know how profoundly damaging the schools were to Indigenous peoples,” as the University’s response to the TRC Calls to Action states. We call for the implementation of all the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and commit ourselves to honouring our obligations.
As part of our answer to the Calls to Action, inspired by a similar offer made by our colleagues in the Department of History at the University of New Brunswick, we offer our professional services free of charge to Indigenous nations, communities, and individuals. Our department comprises scholars of history, archaeology, religion, literature, and women and gender studies. We can provide assistance with locating, accessing, and interpreting evidence in archives, libraries, and online repositories that help with questions of community membership, identities of children in schools, and land claims. We invite requests to email@example.com, and will forward the requests to the faculty members most suited to assist.
In sincerity and solidarity,
The Department of Historical Studies
University of Toronto Mississauga
What we are doing:
We are publicly calling upon all levels of government and all churches along with their constituent institutions who were involved in the residential school system to release their records.
We are contacting the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Peel Aboriginal Network, and the UTM Indigenous Centre to offer our assistance directly.
We invite requests for the following services. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will forward the request to the faculty offering these services:
- Accessing and interpreting documents in state and religious archives
- Accessing and interpreting published documents
- Translations from French into English
- Translations from Latin into English
- Research into the history of the “Doctrine of Discovery”
- Research into early missionary activities in North America
- Research into treaties
- Research into dispossession of lands and resources
- Research into the development and management of the Indian trust fund
- Research into residential day schools
- Editing and proofreading