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Survivors Tell Their Story: The Federal Commemoration of Residential Schools

Cody Groat
University of Western Ontario
Watson Hall 517

The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada is responsible for the federal commemoration of national historic sites, people, and events. In 2019, this body recognized the Indian Residential School System as being nationally significant, a designation approved by the Government of Canada. This chapter, the culmination of a thesis that explores the relationship between the HSMBC and Indigenous Peoples from 1919- 2019, considers how the public memory of the residential school system has been shaped by the federal government over the past century.

Cody Groat is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and the Indigenous Studies Program. He is Kanyen'kehaka (Mohawk) and a band member of Six Nations of the Grand River. His father, William, is a survivor of the Sixties Scoop, and his grandparents, Stanley and Sarah, were survivors of the Mohawk Institute Residential School. He completed a BA in Youth & Children's Studies and History at Wilfrid Laurier University (Brantford campus) in 2016 and an MA in World Heritage Studies from the University of Birmingham (UK) in 2017 through the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage. His research is focused on Indigenous cultural heritage including the commemoration of Indigenous peoples through municipal, provincial, federal, and international designations. His research is also concerned with access to information and how these policies relate to the lived experiences of Indigenous peoples, touching on records that are held by the federal government, children's aid societies, and local police departments. Outside of Western, Cody serves as the Chair of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO Advisory Committee for the Memory of the World Program, responsible for recognizing Canada's most significant collections of documentary heritage collections.

Participants should read Cody's paper in advance of the workshop and be prepared to discuss it.

Please email Bronwyn at to obtain a copy of the paper by Tuesday, November 1. 

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.