The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was officially launched in June 2022. It is a culmination of years of building, growing, and strengthening the Native Justice Coalition across Michigan and the Great Lakes. What started as an idea of how to further healing in our communities has now birthed into an action and advocacy initiative for our people to address boarding school trauma across the state of Michigan. This work is linked to greater movements of truth and healing that span across our Native communities in the United States, Canada, and the world. Just as the Native Justice Coalition was brought to life out of a small home office, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was formed by a group of community members from all different backgrounds, locations, ideas, and life paths seeking change and justice for Indigenous people.
Our strategic plan is the result of months of work, framing our objectives and goals for the TRC moving forward. Our commission is unique in the sense that we have committed a minimum of ten years to invest in community healing, investigate the continued impact of boarding schools, and initiate community led solutions to intergenerational trauma. For that reason, we don’t have a solidified timeline as we want to work with our people on their own terms without the pressure of a fixed schedule.
Learn more about our TRC Strategic Plan here (PDF file).
2nd Annual Children’s Remembrance Walk – Keweenaw Bay Indian Community – Baraga, MI – July 2022
Truth & Reconciliation Commission Working Group
- Linda Cobe – Ojibwe/Oneida, Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Boarding School Survivor
- Alanna Ojibway – Ojibwe/Houma, National Center on Restorative Justice
- Lori Ann Sherman – Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College President
- Prof. Wenona Singel – Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Michigan State University College of Law Indigenous Law & Policy Center
- Dr. Samuel Torres – Mexica/Nahua, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition
Boarding School Survivor Advisory Council
- Tom Biron – Sault Ste Marie Band of Chippewa Indians
- Linda Cobe – Ojibwe/Oneida, Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
- Debra Delk – Pokagon Band of Potawatomi
- Bob Hazen – Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
- Glenda Petoskey – Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
“Linda Cobe, a member of the task force and a Lac Vieux Desert Band tribal member, was 5 when she was taken to the Holy Childhood of Jesus Catholic Church and Indian School in Harbor Springs.
“I remember the loneliness, the children crying every night for their parents, and not being able to understand why we were there,” she said. “It was a fearful time, because you got beat a lot for little infractions, and it was very demeaning, humiliating, cruel at times … you grow up, and you look back at the hypocrisy of what they were trying to teach us with Christianity and then treating innocent children like they did.”
In her siblings, the trauma manifested in poor health, she said. Two older brothers who attended the school for longer than she did died in their 20s. Her sisters, one of whom went to the school, developed diabetes. Cobe’s suffered from health issues including hypertension.
“I went through a lot of personal problems, and it was a struggle to get back on my feet, to make something of myself, after you’re told all the negative, ‘You’re no good, you’ll never amount to anything,”
she said. Cobe is now a member of the commission’s task force, helping to set policy and strategy. Her goal is to help people heal”
-Children’s Remembrance Walk Addresses Impact of Native American Boarding Schools