Privacy at the Margins| Settler Governance and Privacy: Canada’s Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement and the Mediation of State-Based Violence

Lara Fullenwieder, Adam Molnar


In 2007, the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) was developed to redress the violent and assimilative history of residential schools in Canada. The records collected through the IRSSA represent the most comprehensive documentation of violence against Indigenous populations in Canada: data that range from personal testimonials and records, medical histories, and institutional documents to tested legal statements regarding physical and sexual abuse and its effects. The implementation of the IRSSA has been punctuated by legal conflicts that mobilize discourses and laws centering on liberal-conceived rights concerning access to information and privacy. In this article, we examine how liberal discourses of privacy knowledge and uses of privacy law inform histories and futures of Indigenous and settler memory in the context of state-based violence. The article reveals how liberal notions of privacy, when mobilized alongside federally mandated policies of reconciliation, may reproduce the structural violence of settler colonial governance in liberal democracies.


privacy, settler colonialism, liberal governmentality, reconciliation

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