In June 2015, Justice Murray Sinclair and his co-commissioners released their final report on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada, a multi-year inquiry into the impacts of the Indian residential schools. In this report, Justice Sinclair indicated that the wounds inflicted from the Indian Residential Schools run long and deep in affected communities, and that the whole country has suffered a prolific break-down in the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians that is is fueled by racism, discrimination and a general lack of education or awareness about Canadian Aboriginal issues.
The final Report of the TRC of Canada identified the process of reconciliation as fundamental for forging new, healthy relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians, with roughly one quarter of its recommendations targeted at post-secondary institutions. At the same time, important Indigenous-specific activities were ongoing at Western, including the drafting of the university's first ever Indigenous Strategic Plan. As a direct response to both the TRC and to support the Indigenous Strategic Planning efforts, we have developed a new Interdisciplinary Initiative (IDI) in the area of Applied Indigenous Scholarship.