December 15, 2015
Congratulations to Justice Murray Sinclair and Commissioners Marie Wilson and Chief Wilton Littlechild on the completion of the six-year mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the sister tribunal to the Indian Residential Schools Secretariat.
The Commission’s final report, released on December 15, provides Canadians with a comprehensive account of what happened at Indian Residential Schools and how survivors and future generations of Indigenous People were impacted by the residential schools. Equally important, I believe that historians will look back at the Commission’s 94 recommendations as a pivotal point in the establishment of a new respectful relationship that will help bring about reconciliation.
Borrowing from the Gesture of Reconciliation presented on behalf of all Independent Assessment Process (IAP) Adjudicators to the Commission at its National Event in Edmonton in March 2014:
We are honoured, as adjudicators, to be a part of this process. Listening to people speak about being abused as children is difficult, but meeting former students enriches each of us. We see the people who come through our process not only as children who have been victimized, but also as adults who survived by their courage, persistence, adaptability, and creativity. We are privileged to be witness to their lives. The experience of sharing the spiritual journey into their darkest private experiences affords us a profound connection with people who have suffered across time and cultures. It deepens our humanity.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s contribution to reconciliation and healing will be felt for years to come.