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Settling Emotions? The Indian Residential Schools Settlement and Algonquin Survivors in Canada

Emotions play an important role in all reconciliation processes. But cultures can have different ways of shaping and sharing their emotions.

Project No. G 313

Anne-Marie Reynaud

Cultures can have different ways of shaping and sharing their emotions, and better understanding these cultural specificities can help us better understand complex settlement processes. This study focuses on the case of Algonquin people receiving financial compensation as part of a settlement plan on behalf of the Canadian government to indigenous survivors of residential schools.

As a pre-requisite, this study first explores the traditional Algonquin cultural codification of emotions that was in place before the residential school period.  Second, it investigates the cultural production, the shaping and the sharing of emotions in relation to two of the settlement plan measures: the Common Experience Payment (CEP) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Throughout the study the following questions will be pursued: What conflicts of emotions arose among residential school students when confronted with the standard of emotional upbringing that the schools endorsed? How do these conflicts of emotions translate today in relation to the CEP and the TRC measures? To what extent has the ideal affect or the cultural coding of emotions for Algonquin survivors changed as a result of colonialism and residential schools (and some would argue ongoing oppression)? What are the emotions generated by the CEP and TRC? How do non-indigenous Canadians engage with these emotions?

The study will not only draw from relevant non-aboriginal sources on emotions, culture and reconciliation, but also from Algonquin knowledge/analysis on "enmanjiwang" (emotions) obtained through anthropological fieldwork. The aim is to analyze a societal reconciliation process with a specific focus on the evolution of Algonquin emotions.




Prof. Dr. Birgitt Röttger-Rössler

Prof. Marie-Pierre Bousquet (Université de Montreal)