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Revisiting the legacy of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal peoples : a rhetorical analysis of healing

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Revisiting the legacy of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal peoples : a rhetorical analysis of healing

Conradi, Alexa (2006) Revisiting the legacy of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal peoples : a rhetorical analysis of healing. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis offers a re-reading of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) designed to bring reconciliation to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal relations in Canada. Most critics argue that the RCAP failed to address a radical critique of the colonial relations between non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal Canadians or that its conclusions were largely ignored. Instead, this thesis shows that these conclusions need to be revisited. Using rhetorical analysis of the Commission's work, I discuss how the RCAP fostered a process by which Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians could generate change. This thesis argues that the Commission adopted the language of healing as a way to frame discussions regarding the past, present and future situation of Aboriginal people and their relations with the Canadian government. I show that the RCAP had three functions. First, shaped by Aboriginal people's presentations, the hearings turned into a ritual of transformation, a rhetorical process of empowerment that strengthened Aboriginal discourse communities and revalorised Aboriginal traditional knowledge. Second, the entire process centred on the metaphor of healing as an unthreatening way to engage non-Aboriginal Canadians in a dialogue with Aboriginal peoples. Third, healing as defined by Aboriginal people stood as a radical alternative to Euro-Canadian epistemology as the (sole) philosophy with which to redefine the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada. As such, the RCAP should be understood as a significant, critical and positive contribution to shifts in the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada. These shifts may foster the reconciliation process

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Conradi, Alexa
Pagination:vi, 123 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Communication Studies
Date:2006
Thesis Supervisor(s):Charland, Maurice
ID Code:9043
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:18 Aug 2011 14:43
Last Modified:18 Aug 2011 14:43
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