Dr. Scott Hamilton: Distinguished Researcher Talk - "Bearing Witness to Tragedy: The Search for Unmarked Graves at Indian Residential Schools"

Event Date: 
Tuesday, February 27, 2024 - 11:00am to 12:00pm EST
Event Location: 
CASES Atrium, Lakehead University

About the Event

Canadian Indian Residential Schools (IRS) operated for about 160 years, with at least 4,130 recorded deaths and the fate of thousands more children remaining unknown. Since the 2021 Kamloops IRS investigations, many Indigenous nations have initiated searches for the unmarked graves of these children. This process includes collecting survivor testimony, archival investigation and ground searches that rely heavily on remote sensing methodologies. This work is mindful of the risk of exacerbating intergenerational trauma, the practical limits of the methods employed, and the necessity for Indigenous sovereignty over results. It also involves building local capacity and integrating outside technical expertise when needed. Academics involved in these activities must view it as ‘research service’ that is unlikely to lead to conventional publication. This complexity is explored with examples from ongoing investigations.

About the Speaker

Photo of Dr. Scott Hamilton:  Lakehead University Distinquished ReseacherDr. Scott Hamilton is a professor in the Lakehead University Department of Anthropology. He is an archaeologist and ethnohistorian who specializes in the northern plains and subarctic, and with a career that straddles academic and applied research. Over the past decade, he has been involved in Indian Residential Schools investigations, first as a researcher with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and more recently as a resource person serving various Indigenous communities that have begun the search for unmarked graves.



 Photo: Chris McEvoy

 Event Poster: Dr. Scott Hamilton -Distinguished Researcher Talk "Bearing witness to tragedy: The search for unmarked graves at Indian Residential Schools"