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Human Rights Advocates in Montreal Profiles


Lara Kramer

Lara Kramer is an Ojibwa and Cree dancer and choreographer in Montreal. Her Aboriginal background has informed much of her work. In 2006 she choreographed “Fragments,” a piece that recounted the experiences of several Native women who had been through the residential school system – including her own mother.

The Canadian Indian residential School System, founded in the 19th century, was a federally-operated program aimed at assimilating First Nations children into the white, Christian culture of mainstream Canada. Taking children away from their families at an early age, and forbidding them to speak any language but English or French, these mandatory schools systematically stripped children of their native culture, and have been named responsible for the “cultural genocide” of many First Nations. The last residential school closed in 1996, and in 2007, the Canadian government announced a compensation process for survivors and their families.

Through her many performances of “Fragments”, Kramer has raised awareness of the residential school system – its practices, secrets, and legacy – helping bring to light the horrors of one of Canada’s worst human rights offences.