Self-Advocacy from the Ashes of the Institution
Keywords:Self-advocacy, human rights, institutionalization, intellectual disability, disability advocacy
This paper explores the oral histories of two survivors of Canada’s institutions for persons labelled with intellectual disability. Both of these men survived the abuses of the institutions and went on to become committed to rights advocacy for others labelled with an intellectual disability. They were determined to tell their stories and act as change agents so that no one else experiences the abuse they did. In this paper, Peter and Martin tell parts of their stories, including their journey toward self-advocacy. This paper provides a space for these truths to be revealed in the time of class action law suits that are underway for these survivors. No opportunity was provided for the class action members to tell their stories in court, so this paper contains pieces of the narrative that survivors want people to know. Their stories are told in both narrative and art form. These artifacts highlight common themes of institutional abuse and isolation, but also of remarkable resiliency and strength. Their stories serve as an important record of the history of institutionalization in Canada and help to shape a better understanding of the roots of self- advocacy, including the importance of “nothing about us without us” (Charlton, 1998).
How to Cite
There are no article processing or submission charges for CJDS authors.
Author(s) are not required to assign their copyright in and to their article to the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies. Instead, The CJDS asks for one-time rights to print this original work.
All articles in the journal are assigned a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license.
Authors are asked to contact the journal Editor if they wish to post the article on any website; translate or authorize a translation of the article; copy or otherwise reproduce the article, in any format, beyond what is permitted under Canadian copyright law, or authorize others to do so; copy or otherwise reproduce portions of the article, including tables and figures, beyond what is permitted under Canadian copyright law, or authorize others to do so.
Contacting the Editor will simply allow us to track the use and distribution of your article. We encourage use for non-commercial, educational purposes.
Authors must provide proof of permission clearance prior to the publication of their work if they are including images or other materials that are not their own. Keep in mind that such clearance can at times be costly, and often takes time. The journal editor can often work with you to seek permissions if you need information, advice or assistance.