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Sitting with truth, language, fences, and healing: the truth and reconciliation commission calls to action and TYA in Canada

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Indigenous people, Canadians, education, boarding schools, theatre for young audiences, truth & reconciliation Canada

Abstract (summary)

This article explores ways that theatre for young audiences artists are working with the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. These Calls to Action (2015) ask Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians to use education and the arts to “redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.” Using Belarie Zatzman’s concept of “difficult knowledges” and Jill Carter’s provocative questions concerning reconciliation, this article examines four recently developed performances for young people: Minosis Gathers Hope (Alberta Aboriginal Arts and Punctuate! Theatre, Edmonton), (Mistatim (Red Sky Performance, Toronto), We Are All Treaty People (Making Treaty 7 Society and Quest Theatre, Calgary), and Biinoojiinyag Gitgaanmiwaa (WeeFestival, Toronto). During artist interviews and after attending the productions, four themes emerged that emphasize issues connected to making this kind of work in a good way: sitting with truth, careful language use, power dynamics, land and fences, and healing.

Publication Information

Fitzsimmons Frey, H. (2019). Sitting with truth, language, fences, and health: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and TYA in Canada. Youth Theatre Journal, 9(2), 147-163.


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