In Search of the Truth: Uncovering Nursing’s Involvement in Colonial Harms and Assimilative Policies Five Years Post Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Authors

  • Paisly Michele Symenuk University of British Columbia
  • Dawn Tisdale The University of British Columbia
  • Danielle H. Bourque Bearskin McMaster University
  • Tessa Munro Public Health Services Agency (PHSA)

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.25071/2291-5796.51

Keywords:

nursing, Indigenous Peoples, colonialism, racism, Canada

Abstract

The year 2020 marks five years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada released its Calls to Action, directing nursing to take action on both “truth” and “reconciliation.” The aim of this article is to examine how nurses have responded to the TRC’s call for truth in uncovering nursing’s involvement in past and present colonial harms that continue to negatively impact Indigenous people. A narrative review was used to broadly examine nurses’ responses to uncovering nursing’s complicity in five colonial harms: Indian hospitals, Indian Residential Schools, child apprehension, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), and forced sterilization. The paucity of results during the post-TRC period demonstrates a lack of scholarship in uncovering the truth of nursing’s complicity in these systems. Based on findings, we explore two potential barriers in undertaking this work in nursing, including a challenge to the image of nursing and anti-Indigenous racism.

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Author Biographies

Paisly Michele Symenuk, University of British Columbia

Paisly Symenuk, BScN(Hon.), RN, MPH/MSN Student, The University of British Columbia.

Dawn Tisdale, The University of British Columbia

Dawn Tisdale, BSN, RN, MSN Student, The University of British Columbia/Lead Facilitator, San'yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Program

Danielle H. Bourque Bearskin, McMaster University

Danielle H. Bourque Bearskin, BScN, RN, MScN, McMaster University

Tessa Munro, Public Health Services Agency (PHSA)

Tessa Munro, Registered Nurse, BSN

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Published

2020-06-15

How to Cite

Symenuk, P. M., Tisdale, D. ., Bourque Bearskin, D. H. ., & Munro, T. (2020). In Search of the Truth: Uncovering Nursing’s Involvement in Colonial Harms and Assimilative Policies Five Years Post Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Witness: The Canadian Journal of Critical Nursing Discourse, 2(1), 84–96. https://doi.org/10.25071/2291-5796.51
Received 2019-11-15
Accepted 2020-03-29
Published 2020-06-15