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Photo Essay: Six days in Vancouver

Images of truth and reconciliation

By David Turnbull

It began with a canoe flotilla in Vancouver’s harbour that drew a smaller turnout than expected. But as the days passed, momentum built. Survivors of the Indian residential school system told their stories of upheaval, of abuse, of being condemned to a lifetime of dysfunction by a system set up by the Canadian government but run by churches. Vancouver listened. By the end of Reconciliation Week in mid-September, tens of thousands of people showed up in the pouring rain to walk together through the city’s streets. It was a sign that after three years and six major events, the national Truth and Reconciliation process might be starting to bear fruit.

Truth and Reconciliation events are largely about words — speaking them, at long last, and hearing them, finally. But truths are also told in the spaces between words — in gestures, expressions, touch. Photojournalist David Turnbull trained his camera on those spaces and brought back the following visual record.

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