Die, Colonialism, Die! 

 Abstract 

 This week, I would like us to discuss David Garneau’s and Clement Yeh’s Apology Dice. This artwork problematizes not only the notion of apology as it relates to the Truth and Conciliation project but the Truth and Reconciliation project as a whole. Because the Apology Dice refutes stagnation, requires individuals to engage with (re)conciliation individually yet collectively, and demands that people share their own feelings and thoughts through play and conversation, I argue that it is counterintuitive for me to have a fixed and stated thesis. Instead, I have attempted to digitize the dice so that we might experience Apology Dice

Furthermore, David Garneau argues that “the colonial attitude, including its academic branch, is characterized by a drive to see, to traverse, to know, to translate (to make equivalent), to own, and to exploit. It is based on the belief that everything should be accessible, is ultimately comprehensible, and a potential commodity or resource, or at least something that can be recorded or otherwise saved” (29). As such, my refusal to state an argument regarding Apology Dice is as much a refusal to engage with the colonial way of doing academia as it is about hoping to mimic the unstable dynamics of the dice.

In my presentation, I will, however, further discuss the concept of reconciliation and conciliation initially introduced to us by David (thanks David!), so I ask all of us to think about whether reconciliation is necessary to decolonization and whether decolonization is necessary to reconciliation. 


Apology Dice, David Garneau and Clement Yeh

Apology Dice is a conversation starter” (David Garneau, “Apology Dice: Collaboration in Progress,” The Land We Are, 78)

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Materials:  cedar, danish oil, laser-cut text, blanket, participants, 3 editions of 3 dices, 5 1/4″ x 5 1/4″ x 5 1/4″ each

Die 1: I am / We are / They are / I am / We are / They are
Die 2: so / fairly / really / not / somewhat / deeply
Die 3: sorry / sorry / sorry /sorry / tired of this / sorry

An unauthorized digital version of David Garneau’s and Clement Yeh’s Apology Dice

My results:

 


No thesis? 

“The colonial attitude, including its academic branch, is characterized by a drive to see, to traverse, to know, to translate (to make equivalent), to own, and to exploit. It is based on the belief that everything should be accessible, is ultimately comprehensible, and a potential commodity or resource, or at least something that can be recorded or otherwise saved” (David Garneau, “Imaginary Spaces of Conciliation and Reconciliation,”29 )

 


Reconciliation or Conciliation? 

“[C]onciliate is defined as: 

  1. to overcome the distrust or hostility of; placate; win over…
  2. to win or gain (goodwill, regard, or favor).
  3. to make compatible…
  4. to become agreeable.”(Amagoalik quoted in David’s slides)

“‘As someone raised Catholic, I cannot help but notice an ironic religious nuance in the choice of the word ‘reconciliation’ rather than ‘conciliation’ in ‘Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Journey.'” (,David Garneau, “Imaginary Spaces of Conciliation and Reconciliation,” 34).

“‘Conciliation’ is ‘the action of bringing into harmony.’ It is an extrajudicial process that is a ‘conversion of a state of hostility or distrust’; ‘the promotion of good will by kind and considerate measures’; and ‘peaceable or friendly union.'”(David Garneau, “Imaginary Spaces of Conciliation and Reconciliation,” 34).

“Reconciliation refers to the repair of a previously existing harmonious relationship [which]  imposes the fiction that equanimity is the status quo between Aboriginal people and Canada” (David Garneau, “Imaginary Spaces of Conciliation and Reconciliation,” 34).

‘”Reconciliation implies a very different imaginary, one that carries such profound affective and historical meanings that it seems a deliberate tactic in the ongoing assimilationist strategy of the Canadian empire. Whether the choice of this word, imaginary, and process is an accidental inheritance, it is ironic, if not sinister, that survivors of religious residential schools, especially Catholic ones, are asked to participate in a ritual that so closely resembles that which abused them.
             In its religious context, Reconciliation is ‘the reunion of a person to a church.’12 Reconciliation is a sacrament of the Catholic Church. It follows Confession and Penance. According to Vatican teachings, ‘Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labours for their conversion.’ This text is found in ‘The Sacraments of Healing’ section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Reconciliation here, as in the secular colonial version, ignores pre-Catholic or pre-contact Aboriginal states”   (David Garneau, “Imaginary Spaces of Conciliation and Reconciliation,” 35).

“I remain convinced that the official Truth and Reconciliation is primarily a non-Indigenous project designed to reconcile settlers with their dark history in order that they might live in this territory more comfortably and exploit these lands more throughly” ( David Garneau, “Apology Dice: Collaboration in Progress,” The Land We Are, 74). 


Works Cited

Amagoalik, John. “Reconciliation or Conciliation? An Inuit Perspective.”
Speaking My Truth: Reflections on Reconciliation and Residential Schools, edited by Shelagh Rogers et al., Aboriginal Healing Foundation, 2012, pp. 35-43. 

“Apology Dice.” Makerbros.com, cargocollective.com/makerbros/Apology-Dice. 

Howarth, David. “Showing Practice for Conciliation: Documenting an Education of Attention in Tia and Piujuq (2018).” ENG5732H S Visual Sovereignty and the Politics of Reconciliation: Inuit Oral, Visual, and Collaborative Narrative, 10 March 2021, University of Toronto.  

Garneau , David, and Clement Yeh. “Apology Dice:  Collaboration in Progress .” The Land We Are: Artists & Writers Unsettle the Politics of Reconciliation, edited by Sophie McCall and Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, ARP Books, 2015, pp. 73–80.  

Garneau , David. “Imaginary Spaces of Conciliation and Reconciliation .” West Cost Line # 74: Reconcile This! , vol. 46, no. 2, Summer 2012, pp. 27–38.  

“Introduction .” The Land We Are: Artists & Writers Unsettle the Politics of Reconciliation, by Sophie McCall and Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, ARP Books, 2015, pp. 1–19.