The Canadian public largely understands reconciliation as the harmonization of Indigenous–settler relations for the benefit of the nation. But is this really happening? The Theatre of Regret asks whether reconciliation politics will ultimately favour the state’s goals over those of Indigenous peoples. Interweaving literature and art throughout his analysis, David Gaertner questions the state-centred frameworks of reconciliation by exploring the critical roles that Indigenous and allied authors, artists, and thinkers play in defining, challenging, and refusing settler regret. Through close examination of core concepts in reconciliation theory – acknowledgement, apology, redress, and forgiveness – this study exposes the deeply embedded colonial ideologies at the root of reconciliation in Canada.
About the author
David Gaertner is a settler scholar of German descent and an assistant professor in the First Nations and Indigenous Studies Program at the University of British Columbia. His research and teaching investigate new media and digital storytelling within a decolonial framework. He blogs at novelalliances.com.
…Gaertner argues that it is imperative reconciliation centres Indigenous perspective and creates space for Indigenous voices. The Theatre of Regret does just this with depth and flair…
Journal of Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand Studies
The Theatre of Regret is a timely book that implores Canadian settlers to look at the uncomfortable truth of the narratives we tell ourselves: the truth of residential schools and the truth of ongoing settler colonialism and violence.