We are a community of scholars and students who investigate the complex religious histories and cultures of human societies around the world.
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Statement on Residential Schools
The Department of Religions and Cultures echoes the grief and horror felt over the recent revelations near Kamloops and Cranbrook B.C. as well as at Cowessess, Sask. We express sympathy and condolences to the families of residential school survivors across Canada. To honor the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action and in response to Concordia’s Indigenous Directions Action Plan, our department commits ourselves to research Concordia’s historical links to residential schools and to publicizing our findings, especially in our departmental teaching.
To this end, the department is supporting Ph.D. candidate Colby Gaudet in conducting research on the history of the founding institutions behind Concordia University. Loyola College, which merged in 1974 with Sir George Williams University to form Concordia University, was a Jesuit institution. The college had its roots in the same Roman Catholic missionary movement of the 19th century that established a Jesuit-run Residential School for boys in Spanish, Ontario. Additionally, the Grey Nuns of Montreal, whose historical motherhouse and property is now a central part of the Concordia campus, were founders of nineteen Residential Schools and hospitals in the Canadian west and north.
We must continue to learn together about this dark and painful era of our nation’s history. As a department, we are invested in working to transform the ways we teach about the history of Christian traditions in Canada and the impact these traditions have had on Indigenous communities and individuals. Let us remember and honor the children at Kamloops and elsewhere.
The Concordia University Department of Religions and Cultures strongly opposes Quebec Bill 21. This discriminatory law uses identity for political gain. It supports ideologies and practices that target and marginalize minorities, restrict opportunities, and encourage intolerance. The members of our department believe that a just and equal society must be built on tolerance and understanding.
The Concordia Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies presents a new, online reading series of new writing by younger voices featured in Ruth Panofsky’s anthology The New Spice Box: Contemporary Jewish Writing.