In June 2015, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission released 94 Calls to Action that urged reform of policies and programs to repair the harms caused by the Indian Residential Schools. "Decolonizing Discipline" is a response to Call to Action 6––the call to repeal Section 43 of Canada’s Criminal Code, which justifies the corporal punishment of children.
Editors Valerie Michaelson and Joan Durrant have brought together diverse voices to respond to this call and to consider the ways that colonial Western interpretations of Christian theologies have been used over centuries to normalize violence and rationalize the physical discipline of children. Theologians, clergy, social scientists, and First Nations, Inuit, and Métis leaders and community members explore the risks that corporal punishment poses to children and examine practical, non-violent approaches to discipline. The authors invite readers to participate in shaping this country into one that does not sanction violence against children.
The result is a multifaceted exploration of theological debates, scientific evidence, and personal journeys of the violence that permeated Canada’s Residential Schools and continues in Canadian homes today. Together, they compel us to decolonize discipline in Canada.
About the authors
Valerie Michaelson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Brock University. Her current projects focus on violence, spirituality, mental health, and decolonization and reconciliation.
Joan Durrant is a Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. For three decades, she has studied the psychological, cultural and legal dimensions of corporal punishment of children, and the global movement to abolish it.
Decolonizing Discipline transcends disciplinary boundaries and advocates for all Canadians — academics, theologians, and readers alike — to push toward improved standards of compassion and care for our children.