The NCTR is overseen by a Governing Circle. The Circle includes Survivors and representatives of the University of Manitoba and other partners. The majority of Governing Circle members are First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
The Governing Circle is guided by a Survivors Circle, as well as by Elders and Knowledge Keepers.
Establishing these governance structures were essential to ensuring Survivors and partners are always at the very heart of the NCTR and that the NCTR honours and upholds Indigenous laws and protocols.
For us, as Survivors, it is important that we see the NCTR as our home, where our truths, experiences and lives are validated, honoured and never forgotten. The staff carry the responsibility – both today and tomorrow – to ensure our voices are carried forward in a good way.
~ Eugene Arcand, No. 781, residential school Survivor, and Survivor Circle member, Muskeg Lake Cree Nation
Elders and Knowledge Keepers also play a significant role at the NCTR. From visioning the turtle that sits in front of our building, to the sensitive work of honouring children that never returned home from the residential schools, our work would not be possible without them.
About the Governing Circle
In summer 2014, an 11-person nominating committee selected the first Governing Circle of the NCTR. Governing Circle members:
- Ensure Indigenous people are in control over the materials
- Provide guidance on policies, activities, ceremonies, and protocols
- Provide guidance on ways to increase the Centre’s records, materials, and resources and on prospective partners
- Provide support on accessing the Centre’s records, materials and resources
Three members of the Governing Circle represent Survivors, their families or ancestors (one First Nation, one Inuit and one Métis) and, at all times, at least four members of the Governing Circle must self-identify as Indigenous. The remaining four members represent the University of Manitoba (UM) and other NCTR partner organizations.
Governing Circle members serve a minimum two-year term, meet quarterly and advise on the NCTR’s policies, priorities, activities, ceremonies, protocols and methods. The Governing Circle ensures ongoing Indigenous oversight of the NCTR.
- Meet the NCTR Governing Circle
About the Survivors Circle
Following a national selection process, the NCTR welcomed its first Survivors Circle in 2017. One of their first ceremonial acts was to welcome the TRC’s Bentwood Box back to the NCTR after being on display at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights since the TRC’s close.
The first Survivors Circle worked closely with staff at the NCTR, providing invaluable expertise and guidance on an array of NCTR actions. Their perspectives were instrumental in the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) records case and development of the enhanced notice program for IAP records. Their direct advocacy efforts resulted in the NCTR’s Lessons Learned report and the National Student Memorial Register.
Today, a seven-member Survivors Circle continues to guide the NCTR. These members:
- Ensure that Survivors’ voices and perspectives remain central to NCTR programs and policies
- Provide guidance and advice to the NCTR, the Governing Circle, UM and partners on anything important to the broader Survivor community
“It was the Survivors’ truth and the power of their statements that changed this country’s perception of itself. Having Survivors at the core of the NCTR is essential, not only for respecting the past but also for understanding where we’re going.” ~ Ry Moran, First Director of the NCTR
- Meet the NCTR Survivors Circle
More Information on Governance
Read our Administrative Agreement (PDF) with the University of Manitoba.
NCTR Annual Reports
NCTR’s spirit name – bezhig miigwan, meaning “one feather”.
Bezhig miigwan calls upon us to see each Survivor coming to the NCTR as a single eagle feather and to show those Survivors the same respect and attention an eagle feather deserves. It also teaches we are all in this together — we are all one, connected, and it is vital to work together to achieve reconciliation.