One of the jobs of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is to gather statements from former students of the Indian Residential Schools and anyone else who feels they have been impacted by the schools and their legacy.

Here is what the TRC’s official mandate says about statement gathering:

The Commission shall coordinate the collection of individual statements by written, electronic or other appropriate means…

The Commission shall provide a safe, supportive and sensitive environment for individual statement taking/truth sharing.

The Commission shall not use or permit access to an individual’s statement made in any Commission processes, except with the express consent of the individual.

So far, the TRC has collected more than 6,200 statements. Almost all of them were video- and-audio-recorded. They range in length from several minutes to a few hours.

Most of these statements were gathered at TRC National and Regional Events, and at TRC Community Hearings. Some were made publicly in Sharing Panels and Sharing Circles. Some were made privately. If you would like to view statements that have been made publicly at TRC events, click here.

If you would like to make a statement about the residential schools or their legacy, you are invited to:

  • Attend the TRC Alberta National Event in Edmonton, March 27-30, 2014. You may make a public statement at a Commissioners Sharing Panel or in a Sharing Circle, or you may provide your statement privately.

  • Submit your statement online

Once the TRC has come to the end of its mandate, all of the statements it has gathered will be safely stored at the National Research Centre on Indian Residential Schools at the University of Manitoba. Students, researchers and members of the public will be able to access the statements to learn about residential schools and the legacy they left behind. They will not be allowed to see any personal information that could identify you unless you have given permission to disclose your personal information.

Even after the TRC has closed its doors, the National Research Centre will receive statements about the schools and their legacy with no time limitation.

Statement Gathering FAQs

Online Statement Gathering

If you intend to provide a statement to the TRC using this online submission form, please read the consent form below, choose if you wish your statement to be either private or public and complete the registration form.

Consent Form

Why is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada gathering statements online?

The TRC is mandated to:

  • Tell Canadians what happened in the Indian Residential Schools;

  • Create a permanent record of what happened in the Indian Residential Schools;

  • Foster healing and reconciliation within Canada

Over the course of its mandate, the TRC will have held seven events and several regional and community hearings across the country to gather statements from Survivors and anyone wishing to provide a statement. Those who intended to provide a statement but were unable to do so, may provide their statement online.

What documents can I provide to the TRC?

The online statement you are providing now is a written statement.

The TRC is also happy to receive any documents, audio/video or photographs that you wish to share that shed light on the Indian Residential School experience. You may do so by sending your documents to the TRC at the following address:

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
#360-1500 Main Street
Winnipeg, MB
R3C 3Z3

What will happen to my statement, documents, audio/video and photographs?

All of the statements, including online statements, documents, audio/video or photographs collected by the TRC will be entered into a secure TRC computer database and files. With your consent, the TRC may use your statement, documents, audio/video or photographs as follows:

  • In TRC report(s)
  • For TRC research initiatives
  • In the National Research Centre (NRC)
  • On the TRC Website.In any other materials that the TRC develops to educate the public about the Residential Schools.
  • For third parties to use for educational purposes in a respectful and dignified manner only, including, but not limited to, documentary and other films or TV programming. The TRC and the NRC will decide which third parties will be given such access.

At the end of the TRC’s mandate, everything collected by the TRC will be transferred to the NRC. By consenting to provide a statement to the TRC, you also consent to its use by the NRC.

Statements, documents, audio/video and photographs held at the NRC will be made accessible to anyone who is interested in learning more about the Residential Schools.

Can I withdraw my statement?

Yes. Providing a statement to the TRC is voluntary. If you ask us to withdraw your statement, we will remove it from the collection and return it to you. You may request the return of any physical documents, audio/video material, or photographs you have contributed to the TRC.

If you do provide a statement to the TRC – whether you withdraw it or not – you are always free to share your experiences with others.

What experiences can I share with the TRC in my statement?

You are welcome and encouraged to share any aspect of your life with the TRC. You may wish to share what your life was like before, during and after attending residential school.

You can tell the TRC about your direct experiences as a student, as the relative of a student, as someone who worked in the schools, or of any other experience related to residential schools.

While you are free to discuss anything you wish, please note that if you tell the TRC that a child is in need of protection – meaning that you have told us that a child is currently at risk of being physically, sexually, emotionally abused or is being neglected – the TRC may be obligated to report this information to the appropriate authorities. The TRC may also be obligated to report if you tell us that you are planning to harm yourself or someone else.