May this day and the days ahead bring us peace and justice. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians from all walks of life spoke to us about the importance of reaching out to one another in ways that create hope for a better future. Whether one is First Nations, Inuit, métis, a descendant of European settlers, a member of a minority group that suffered historical discrimination in Canada, or a new Canadian, we all inherit both the benefits and obligations of Canada. We are all Treaty people who share responsibility for taking action on reconciliation. Without truth, justice, and healing, there can be no genuine reconciliation. Reconciliation is not about closing a sad chapter of Canadas past, but about opening new healing pathways of reconciliation that are forged in truth and justice. We are mindful that knowing the truth about what happened in residential schools in and of itself does not necessarily lead to reconciliation. Yet, the importance of truth telling in its own right should not be underestimated; it restores the human dignity of victims of violence and calls governments and citizens to account.
Honouring the Truth, reconciling for the future, summary
Thats one of the worst things that Canada did. Cassidy morris said, Its good that were finally learning about what essay happened. Jacqulyn byers told us, i hope that events like this are able to bring closure to the horrible things that happened, and that a whole lot of people now recognize that the crime happened and that we need to make amends for. Truth and Reconciliation Commission Traditional Knowledge keepers Forum, june 2014. University of Manitoba, adam Dolman. At the same national event, trc honorary witness Patsy george paid tribute to the strength of Aboriginal women and their contributions to the reconciliation process despite the oppression and violence they have experienced. She said, women have always been a beacon of hope for. Mothers and grandmothers in the lives of our children, and in the survival of our communities, must be recognized and supported. The justified rage we all feel autobiography and share today must be turned into instruments of transformation of our hearts and our souls, clearing the ground for respect, love, honesty, humility, wisdom and truth. We owe it to all those who suffered, and we owe it to the children of today and tomorrow.
In 2013, at the British Columbia national event in Vancouver, where over 5,000 elementary and secondary school students attended Education day, several non-Aboriginal youth talked about what they had learned. Matthew Meneses said, Ill never forget this day. This is the first day they ever told us about residential schools. If I were to see someone whos Aboriginal, Id ask them if they can speak their margaret language because i think speaking their language is a pretty cool thing. Antonio jordao said, It makes me sad for those kids. They took them away from their homes—it was torture, its not fair. They took them away from their homes. I dont agree with that.
Over the past five years, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada urged Canadians not to wait until our final report was issued before contributing to the reconciliation process. We have been encouraged to see that across the country, many people have been answering that call. The youth of this country are taking up the challenge of reconciliation. Aboriginal apple and non-Aboriginal youth who attended trc national events made assignment powerful statements about why reconciliation matters to them. At the Alberta national event in Edmonton in March 2014, an Indigenous youth spoke on behalf of a national Indigenous and non-Indigenous collaboration known as the 4Rs youth movement. Jessica bolduc said, we have re-examined our thoughts and beliefs around colonialism, and have made a commitment to unpack our own baggage, and to enter into a new relationship with each other, using this momentum, to move our country forward, in light of the 150th. At this point in time, we ask ourselves, What does that anniversary mean for us, as Indigenous youth and non-Indigenous youth, and how do we arrive at that day with something we can celebrate together? Our hope is that, one day, we will live together, as recognized nations, within a country we can all be proud. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal representatives from 4Rs youth movement present the 4Rs drum made by nisgaa artist mike dangeli, as an expression of reconciliation at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Alberta national event, march 2014.
And so to reconcile with this land and everything that has happened, there is much work to be done in order to create balance. At the victoria regional event in 2012, survivor Archie little said, for me reconciliation is righting a wrong. And how do we do that? All these people in this room, a lot of non-Aboriginals, a lot of Aboriginals that probably didnt go to residential school; we need to work together my mother had a high standing in our cultural ways. It was taken away and I think its time for you non-Aboriginals to go to your politicians and tell them that we have to take responsibility for what happened. We have to work together. The reverend Stan Mckay of the United Church, who is also a survivor, believes that reconciliation can happen only when everyone accepts responsibility for healing in ways that foster respect. He said, There must be a change in perspective about the way in which Aboriginal peoples would be engaged with Canadian society in the quest for reconciliation we cannot perpetuate the paternalistic concept that only Aboriginal peoples are in need of healing The perpetrators are. we all have stories to tell and in order to grow in tolerance and understanding we must listen to the stories of others.
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The thousands of Survivors who publicly shared their residential school experiences at trc events in every region of this country have launched a much-needed dialogue about what is necessary to heal themselves, their families, communities, and the for nation. Canadians have much to benefit from listening to the voices, experiences, and wisdom of Survivors, Elders, and Traditional Knowledge keepers—and much more to learn about reconciliation. Aboriginal peoples have an important contribution to make to reconciliation. Their knowledge systems, oral histories, laws, and connections to the land have vitally informed the reconciliation process to date, and are essential to its ongoing progress. At a traditional Knowledge keepers Forum sponsored by the trc, anishinaabe Elder Mary deleary spoke about the responsibility for reconciliation that both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people carry. She emphasized that the work of reconciliation must continue in ways that honour the ancestors, respect the land, and rebalance relationships.
She said, Im so filled with belief and hope because when I hear your voices at the table, i hear and know that the responsibilities that our ancestors carried are still being carried even through all of the struggles, even through all of what has. We can hear the care and love for the children. We can hear about our law. We can hear about our stories, our governance, our feasts, and our medicines we have work. That work we are already doing as Aboriginal peoples. Our relatives who have come from across the water non-Aboriginal people, you still have work to do on your road The land is made up of the dust of our ancestors bones.
The daily news has been filled with reports of controversial issues ranging from the call for a national inquiry on violence towards Aboriginal women and girls to the impact of the economic development of lands and resources on Treaties and Aboriginal title and rights. The courts continue to hear Aboriginal rights cases, and new litigation has been filed by survivors of day schools not covered under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, as well as by victims of the sixties Scoop, which was a child-welfare policy that removed Aboriginal. The promise of reconciliation, which seemed so imminent back in 2008 when the prime minister, on behalf of all Canadians, apologized to survivors, has faded. Too many canadians know little or nothing about the deep historical roots of these conflicts. This lack of historical knowledge has serious consequences for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, and for Canada as a whole. In government circles, it makes for poor public policy decisions.
In the public realm, it reinforces racist attitudes and fuels civic distrust between Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians. Too many canadians still do not know the history of Aboriginal peoples contributions to canada, or understand that by virtue of the historical and modern Treaties negotiated by our government, we are all Treaty people. History plays an important role in reconciliation; to build for the future, canadians must look to, and learn from, the past. As Commissioners, we understood from the start that although reconciliation could not be achieved during the trcs lifetime, the country could and must take ongoing positive and concrete steps forward. While the commission has been a catalyst for deepening our national awareness of the meaning and potential of reconciliation, it will take many heads, hands, and hearts, working together, at all levels of society to maintain momentum in the years ahead. It will also take sustained political will at all levels of government and concerted material resources.
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Survivors Sharing Circle at Truth and Reconciliation Commission Manitoba national event, june 2010. Reconciliation must support Aboriginal peoples as they heal from the destructive legacies of colonization that have wreaked such havoc in their lives. But it must do even more. Reconciliation must inspire Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples to transform Canadian society so that our children and grandchildren can live together in dignity, peace, and prosperity on these lands we now share. The urgent need for reconciliation runs deep in Canada. Expanding public dialogue and action on reconciliation beyond residential schools will be critical in the coming years. Although some progress has been made, significant barriers to reconciliation remain. The relationship between the federal government and Aboriginal peoples is deteriorating. Instead of moving towards reconciliation, assignment there have been divisive conflicts over biography Aboriginal education, child welfare, and justice.
Much of what the royal Commission had to say has been ignored by government; a majority of its recommendations were never implemented. But the report and its findings opened peoples eyes and changed the conversation about the reality for Aboriginal people in this country. In 2015, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada wraps up its work, the country has a rare second chance to seize a lost opportunity for reconciliation. We live in a twenty-first-century global world. At stake is Canadas place as a prosperous, just, and inclusive democracy within that global world. At the trcs first National event in Winnipeg, manitoba, about in 2010, residential school Survivor Alma mann Scott said, The healing is happening—the reconciliation, i feel that theres some hope for us not just as Canadians, but for the world, because i know Im not the. I know that Anishinaabe people across Canada, first Nations, are not the only ones. My brothers and sisters in New zealand, australia, ireland—theres different areas of the world where this type of stuff happened I dont see it happening in a year, but we can start making changes to laws and to education systems so that we can move.
Canada has approached the question of reconciliation. To the commission, reconciliation is about establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this country. In order for that to happen, there has to be awareness of the past, acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behaviour. We are not there yet. The relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples is not a mutually respectful one. But, we believe we can get there, and we believe we can maintain. Our ambition is to show how we can do that. Report of the royal Commission on Aboriginal peoples urged Canadians to begin a national process of reconciliation that would have set the country on a bold new path, fundamentally changing the very foundations of Canadas relationship with Aboriginal peoples.
Trc honorary witnesses, the arts: Practising resistance, healing, and reconciliation. Residential school commemoration projects, bearing witness to the child: Childrens art from the Alberni residential school. Canadas public commemoration initiative, media and reconciliation, educating journalists for reconciliation. Sports: Inspiring lives, healthy communities, corporate sector: Land, sustainability, and economic development. We are all Treaty people: Communities, alliances, and hope. Closing Words, reconciliation at the crossroads, to some people, reconciliation is the re-establishment of a conciliatory state. However, this is a state that many Aboriginal people assert never has existed between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. To others, reconciliation, in the context of Indian residential schools, is similar to dealing with a situation of family violence.plan
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Introduction, commission activities, the history, the legacy, the challenge of reconciliation. Setting the context, treaties: Honouring the past and negotiating the future. Revitalizing Indigenous law: Truth, reconciliation, and access to justice. Reconciliation and accountability, moving from apology to action, education for reconciliation. Role of Canadas museums and archives in education for reconciliation. Public memory: dialogue, write the arts, and commemoration. Dialogue: Ceremony, testimony, and witnessing, the power of ceremony, life stories, testimonies, and witnessing as teachings.