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“Truth” – judging by the presumed cognitive extremes of religious/spiritual and epistemological/scientific contexts (Rorty, 1979, 2005) – can be seen, across the board, as the goal of inquiry and the highest distinction awarded in/for understanding and knowing well. This is because truth (best knowledge) potentially serves (in Deweyan terms) the “betterment of life”, which is why human societies have had, in one form or another, a special place for education. When it comes to the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Residential Schools (TRC, 2015), extending the work of RCAP (1996) and mandated by the ensuing IRS Settlement Agreement (2006), we face the asymmetric truths of a colonial history and present, and the urgent-discomfiting imperative of making space for these in knowing about the past and for the future. I see this as a long-term (in)formal educating-for/by-doing enterprise, attuned to the TRC’s 94 calls-to-action.

TRC’s truths exceed the analytic philosophy mould, descended from the Kantian tradition of “philosophy as epistemology” (per Rorty’s, 1979 diagnosis), whereby mental representation and apodicticity reign supreme. Instead, in their robust social/power situatednesses and investments, said truths demand a composite epistemological-ethical examination, as proposed by Miranda Fricker (2007) for “epistemic injustice” in gendered legal contexts, and earlier pursued more comprehensively by Donna Haraway, Lorraine Code, among many other feminist/revisionist epistemologists. I direct my similarly multimodal discursive lens toward a shared (non)Indigenous future for Canada. My emphatically public-cum-academic educational philosophy project, informed by TRC’s 94 calls-to-action (op.cit.), openly engages the country’s foundational colonial dichotomy to map past-current-future cognitive relationships within and across(non-)Indigenous spaces, along socio-psychological, political-economic, etc. dimensions.

I will argue that there is no direct, neat and easy, causal link between truth andreconciliation. Truth-finding/telling will be politically, educatively, and profoundly humanly vacuous, unless it effectively informs the consistent, continual creation and exercise of upgraded social habits/action. I take up the symbolic revision of “Canada’s Origin Story”, per law professor Kathleen Mahoney’s SSHRCC keynote (November 27, 2015), as a shorthand for the actual re-constituting of Canada. Namely, accepting Indigenous peoples (First Nations, Inuit, Metis) as “co-founding” nations to reinstate them on a par with the currently constitutionally recognized British and French European settlers (in truth, colonizers). This means being/becoming – today, just as in the fur trade that birthed Canada (Innis, 1962; Ray, 1975, 1990), or in the French and Indian Wars (Tehanetorens, 1999) – partners of co-equal epistemic/economic/political agency. Hence, truly confederate – peaceful – nations.

The above, I propose, necessitates a comprehensive, transformative (self)educational project throughout the school-society continuum. It is to re-tune the ways in which and the reasons for which (non)Indigenous actors generate and engage with socially situated, thus ethically charged knowledges about/by/for self and each other, which have been, far too long, conspicuously discrepant. By conducting a hybrid epistemological inquiry, I project the conditions for a likewise multidimensional Canadian past-to-future “truth” of mutual inclusivity. Hide-and-seek need no longer be a colonizer/colonized tactic to circumvent reciprocally problematic truths of the past 500 years. Instead, Canada re-constitutes itself, byand for, the ethical-epistemic-pedagogical truthfulness of strategic mutuality.


Fricker, Miranda (2007) Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (May 8, 2006) www.residentialschoolssettlement.ca/settlement.html

Innis, Harold Adam (1962) The Fur Trade in Canada: An Introduction to Canadian Economic History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Mahoney, Kathleen (2015) “Canada’s Origin Story”. SSHRCC keynote, Victoria, BC, November 27, 2015.

Ray, Arthur J. (1974) Indians in the Fur Trade. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

———- (1990) The Canadian Fur Trade in the Industrial Age. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Rorty, Richard (1979) Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. NJ: Princeton University Press.

———- (2005) Anticlericalism and Atheism. In Richard Rorty & Gianni Vattimo,The Future of Religion, pp. 29-42. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996) Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples Vols I-V. Canada.

Tehanetorens [Ray Fadden] (1999) Wampum Belts of the Iroquois. Summertown, Tennessee: Book Publishing Company.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015a) Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Winnipeg, Manitoba: TRC. www.trc.ca

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015b) Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. Winnipeg, Manitoba: TRC. www.trc.ca