The NCTR derives its mandate from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and from the agreements under which the Centre was established and the records of Residential School Survivors first entrusted to its care. The core pillars of the NCTR’s mandate are:
- To be a responsible and accountable steward for the experiences, photos, and memories entrusted to the Centre by the Survivors of Residential Schools, to honour their truths, and ensure that they can never again be forgotten or ignored.
- To continue the research work begun by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and in this way contribute to the continuing healing of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and the country as a whole.
- To build a foundation for reconciliation by promoting public education and understanding of the Residential Schools and how they are part of a larger history of violent assaults on the distinct cultures and identities of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
Through this work, the NCTR has a unique role in fulfilling Canada’s national obligation, as established internationally by the United Nations Joinet-Orentlicher Principles, to preserve the record of Canada’s human rights violations and ensure that such violations can never happen again.
Consistent with the TRC’s Principles of Reconciliation, which states that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is “the framework for reconciliation at all levels and across all sectors of Canadian society,” the NCTR upholds the UN Declaration and takes guidance from its provisions.