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Social Science Native American Studies

Unsettling the Settler Within

Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada

by (author) Paulette Regan

foreword by Taiaiake Alfred

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Jan 2011
Native American Studies, Native American, Indigenous Peoples
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2011
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2010
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 2010
    List Price

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In 2008, Canada established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to mend the deep rifts between Aboriginal peoples and the settler society that created Canada’s notorious residential school system. Unsettling the Settler Within argues that non-Aboriginal Canadians must undergo their own process of decolonization in order to truly participate in the transformative possibilities of reconciliation. Settlers must relinquish the persistent myth of themselves as peacemakers and acknowledge the destructive legacy of a society that has stubbornly ignored and devalued Indigenous experience. A compassionate call to action, this powerful book offers a new and hopeful path toward healing the wounds of the past.

About the authors

Paulette Regan is an independent scholar, researcher, public educator and co-facilitator of an intercultural history and reconciliation education workshop series. Formerly the research director for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, she was the senior researcher and lead writer on the Reconciliation Volume of the TRC Final Report. Her book, Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling and Reconciliation in Canada (2010) was short-listed for the 2012 Canada Prize.

Paulette Regan's profile page

Taiaiake Alfred is from Kahnaw?ke in the Mohawk Nation. He is a scholar and journalist known for his passionate and incisive views on politics, a respected orator, and a trusted advisor to many First Nations governments and community organizations. He holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University and is a Professor in the University of Victoria's Indigenous Governance Programs. Taiaiake is the author of two previous books, Heeding the Voices of Our Ancestors and Peace, Power, Righteousness.

Taiaiake Alfred's profile page


  • Short-listed, Canada Prize in Social Sciences, Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Editorial Reviews

Seeking to navigate the complex terrain of reconciliation in Canada, Regan’s text is an important contribution to settler studies in Canada … Her ability to fuse literatures from the burgeoning field of settler studies and anticolonial scholarship is impressive.

Great Plains Research, Vol. 22 No. 2, Fall 2012

Regan weaves together her own profoundly personal experiences in Indigenous communities with wider historical study and narrative analysis … most compelling.

Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, Vol. 13 No. 3, Winter 2012

Librarian Reviews

Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada

This scholarly book from the director of Research for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada calls on all Canadians to consider how their colonial legacy perpetuates itself on a daily basis. “Canadian citizens … are ultimately responsible for the past and present actions of our government.” The federal government’s 2008 apology to victims of residential schools was not an end, but an opportunity for Canadians to rethink the past and implications for future relationships with Canada's indigenous peopleThis book points to a transformation born out of reflection by all parties, rather than indigenous people being held responsible for coming to terms with what happened to them. Transformation is based on the critical hope of an authentic, ethical and just reconciliation.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2011-2012.

Other titles by Paulette Regan

Other titles by Taiaiake Alfred