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In the News - Archives: 2012-06


Below is a list of articles, with summary, about Indian residentials schools, the IAP and other related news.

Please follow the link to the original story for the complete article.

This information may not be available in your language of choice as it comes from third party sources.

Articles

House of Wayward Spirits celebrates native performance artists and cuts through PC filters

Published: June 28, 2012 - Added: June 28, 2012 - Publication: Toronto Star

Link http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/article/1218015---house-of-wayward-spirits-celebrates-native-performance-artists-and-cuts-through-pc-filters

Terrance Houle has portaged the concrete canyons of Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, gone grocery shopping in full powwow regalia, and played board games in a skimpy buckskin breechcloth against a western-wear clad opponent on a downtown street in a de-brutalized modern version of cowboys and Indians.

Performing, with an emphasis on cliché-bashing his identity as a Blackfoot Indian, is in his blood, which makes him a perfect fit for the “House of Wayward Spirits,” a festival of First Nations performance art starting Thursday and running through the long weekend.

There’s no specific flashpoint here, but a general malaise underpins it. “I’m coming from being frustrated with the truth and reconciliation commission,” she says, referring to the federal body charged with investigating the various horrors of the country’s residential school program, which took aboriginal children away from their parents with the intention of wiping their native culture and identity away. “I feel like we’re being pushed to reconcile, without any justice being served.”

The commission is ongoing and slow-moving, to the satisfaction – and surprise – of few. While none of the performances address the commission directly, each serves as a sharp reminder of the urgent tensions between colonialism’s historic us-and-them two solitudes.


Who is my neighbour? (Opinion Piece)

Published: June 28, 2012 - Added: June 28, 2012 - Publication: Orangeville Citizen

Link http://www.citizen.on.ca/news/2012-06-28/Columns/Who_is_my_neighbour.html

As I sit down to write this reflection I ask myself who will read this? Is it passed over by those who do not call themselves ‘Christians’? Is it only read by church folk? And then the question arises, ‘so what do you mean by the word Christian’. Who is and isn’t a Christian. And if you name yourself as a Christian what exactly does that mean? There are fourteen of us who write for ‘Christian Perspectives’ and we all might have slightly different ways of responding to that question. However I do think that we could agree that the following text is foundational to our Christian faith.

You shall love the lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. – you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Mt. 22: 37 – 39.

This past Thursday June 21 was National Aboriginal Day. I wonder how many of us were aware of this. I can’t help but wonder did any of us think about the Residential Schools system and how it undermined the whole of the Aboriginal peoples?

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has a five year mandate to travel across Canada creating safe spaces for Indigenous folk to come forward and tell their stories of the ongoing fallout from the Residential School experience. These gatherings are open to all Aboriginals and non Aboriginals. We are called to hear these stories into the very depth of our being so that we can no longer say, as I have often heard said “what’s the matter with these people, why can’t they get their act together, the government has poured so much money into them”. They are our neighbors. WE AS PEOPLE OF FAITH ARE CALLED TO HEAR THESE STORIES WITH OUR HEART, SOUL AND MIND.


Wanuskewin 20th anniversary powwow

Published: June 28, 2012 - Added: June 28, 2012 - Publication: Saskatoon Star Phoenix

Link http://www.thestarphoenix.com/travel/Wanuskewin+20th+anniversary+powwow/6852587/story.html

A two-day powwow was held at Wanuskewin Heritage Park on June 20 and 21 to celebrate both National Aboriginal Day and 20 years of Wanuskewin being open to the public. Hundreds gathered for dance and music to honour First Nations elders, veterans and residential school survivors.

The weather wasn't perfect but it didn't spoil any of the festivities at the historic site north of Saskatoon near the riverbank. Bridges' Andrew Spearin did extensive photography of the event and has created a slide show and photo gallery that can be viewed at our website: thestarphoenix.com/ bridges.


Offer Strength (Letter to the Editor)

Published: June 28, 2012 - Added: June 28, 2012 - Publication: Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Link http://www.thestarphoenix.com/opinion/letters/Offer+Strength/6852497/story.html

My wife Diane and I attended the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearing held at the Prairieland Park and listened to the stories of the survivors as they shared their pain, sorrows and their childhood stolen from them.

Many are on their journey of healing from all the horrific abuses they encountered during their time at the residential schools. Many are on the road to healing, able to forgive their abusers. They are sharing their stories in a safe place, with other abused brothers and sisters.

Pray for positive and good outcomes from this gathering, and for daily strength for survivors to keep working through their experiences.

Ed Cooper Saskatoon


Aboriginal culture heals church-inflicted wounds

Published: June 27, 2012 - Added: June 28, 2012 - Publication: Anglican Journal.com

Link http://www.anglicanjournal.com/nc/other/news-items/c/sliders/article/aboriginal-culture-heals-church-inflicted-wounds-10927//abp/141.html

Wearing his trademark cowboy hat, Terrance Assiniboine appeared at the recent survivors’ hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearings in Saskatoon to tell the audience how he came to be the man he is today. “It’s a hard thing to do—to sit up here and tell my story, but I know it is a good thing to let it all out,” he said. “In my heart, I know there’s a good man inside of me and I know there is something good in all of us, but in a way, they took that a way from me,” said the First Nation witness, on the brink of tears.

“They” were the teachers and staff at the residential school Assiniboine attended as a child. “They told me I was a savage. They said I smelled and was disgusting. They said everything in the book to humiliate me,” he said.

Assiniboine believes that such verbal abuse is the reason he found it hard for so long to look anyone in the eye, the reason he walked with his eyes on the ground. “I did not feel like a man, like the warrior I was supposed to be. I felt small, like the smallest person in the world; I felt guilt and embarrassment,” he told the TRC.


An Expression of Reconciliation

Published: June 27, 2012 - Added: June 28, 2012 - Publication: Presbyterian Church web site

Link http://www.presbyterian.ca/pcconnect/daily/6324

Bonjour. Good morning. My name is John Vissers. I am the Moderator of the 138th General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada. I also serve as the Principal of The Presbyterian College at McGill University in Montreal. I am very pleased to have this opportunity to share with you some of the ways The Presbyterian Church in Canada is working to live out its commitment to truth and reconciliation in Canada....


Regina lawyer suspended three months for conduct

Published: June 28, 2012 - Added: June 28, 2012 - Publication: Edmonton Journal

Link http://www2.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=f4964733-53e1-40e0-870c-03c53d4a4151

A Saskatchewan lawyer who has filed many high-profile class-action lawsuits, including the residential schools case, has been suspended.

A disciplinary committee of the Law Society of Saskatchewan has ordered Regina-based Tony Merchant suspended for three months for conduct unbecoming a lawyer. He was also ordered to pay $28,869.30 to cover the cost of the hearing.

The penalty comes after the law society found Merchant guilty for his actions in a case dating back to 2003. Merchant breached a court order that required his firm to pay into court settlement proceeds due to a client pending the outcome of a family property issue.

The hearing also found he told that same client to defy a court order.

Law society counsel said in sentencing submissions that there were a number of aggravating factors, including "the fact that (Merchant) chose to let his client remain in harm's way on two contempt applications where his client could have faced jail time as a result of the member's conduct."


Tony Merchant appealing four-month suspension: media report

Published: June 28, 2012 - Added: June 28, 2012 - Publication: Canadian Lawyer and Law Times (Legal Feeds Blog)

Link http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/legalfeeds/931/Tony-Merchant-appealing-four-month-suspension-media-report.html

According to the Regina Leader-Post, Merchant filed his appeal yesterday. The suspension is to take effect June 30 unless Merchant seeks an order to put it on hold pending the appeal, the Leader-Post reported.

A law society hearing committee had earlier found Merchant guilty of conduct unbecoming a lawyer for breaching a June 4, 2003, order that required him to pay certain settlement proceeds due to his client, M.H., pending determination of a related family property issue. It also found him guilty of conduct unbecoming by counselling or assisting M.H. to act in defiance of a court order.
 


Province to increase education on the history of residential schools

Published: June 26, 2012 - Added: June 27, 2012 - Publication: Portage la Prairie News

Link http://www.portagedailygraphic.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3589905

The Province of Manitoba announced last week that they plan to increase classroom learning on the topics of residential schooling and the reconciliation process.

Students from grades 9 to eleven will watch the new DVD, From Apology to Reconciliation, and read an accompanying guide during their social studies classes’ next school year.

Portage Collegiate Institute (PCI) will be one of the schools adding the new learning techniques to the curriculum.

This will add to their already large focus on residential schooling in social studies classes.


New Book Examines Indian Residential Schools in Canada (Trafford Publishing Press Release)

Published: June 26, 2012 - Added: June 27, 2012 - Publication: PRWeb.com

Link http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/6/prweb9636954.htm

In his new book “Wawahte: Subject: Canadian Indian Residential Schools” (published by Trafford Publishing), Robert P. Wells delves into his past and the historic policies he observed as a person growing up in a life governed by laws imposed by the Canadian government on Indian, First Nations or native people.

In “Wawahte” Wells focuses on three people, offering readers an intimate glimpse into their lives and their pasts. By looking at these three native people – Ester, a little Cree girl; Bunnie, a girl abandoned by her family and left to be raised by an Indian residential school; and Stanley, a community elder – Wells hopes to expose what he sees as injustices brought on by policies forcing Indian students into residential schools.


Mother keeps waiting for arrest in 2003 killing

Published: June 27, 2012 - Added: June 27, 2012 - Publication: Winnipeg Free Press

Link http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/mother-keeps-waiting-for-arrest-in-2003-killing-160491815.html

When her phone rang Monday morning, Eleanor Hands hoped it was the police. She's waited nine years for the news her daughter's 2003 slaying has been solved, that Nicolle Hands will no longer be among the scores of aboriginal Manitoba women whose deaths remain cloaked in mystery.

It was the law calling, in the shape of a social worker with the joint RCMP/Winnipeg police task force struck to delve into the cases of such women. She told Hands about the arrest of Shawn Lamb, now charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of Tanya Nepinak, Carolyn Sinclair and Lorna Blacksmith.

Their families now have the small, jagged comfort that comes with attaching a name and a face to the person who allegedly killed your child. For Hands, the interminable wait continues. The social worker was calling to alert her to the arrest and to see how she was coping.

And how is the Kingston, Ont., resident coping? As well as you'd imagine, considering the child she raised into adulthood fell into a pit so deep she couldn't see her way out, considering she had to tell the hospital to cut off her child's life-support after her stabbing, considering three children were left without a mother.

She talks about her loss without rancour, unfolding her daughter's life chapter by chapter. She and her husband, an Anglican minister, adopted Nicolle and her brother Peter when they were toddlers. They were aboriginal. Their new parents were not.

Hands says Nicolle took skating and singing lessons. She had a good upbringing, says her mom, and nothing could have predicted the end. She was a happy girl.

She was 29, a mother and studying to be a native case worker when she moved to Winnipeg to be near her father. He was in Stony Mountain Institution for molesting young students at the residential school where he once worked. That's when the downward spiral began.


TRC event in Saskatoon brings healing along with pain

Published: June 25, 2012 - Added: June 26, 2012 - Publication: APTN National News

Link http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2012/06/25/trc-event-in-saskatoon-brings-healing-along-with-pain/

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission recently held a national event in Saskatoon.

APTN National News reporter Larissa Burnouf found that, for those attending, there is healing and pain.  (This text introduces a video report.)


Compromise is chief priority (Editorial - Sun Newspapers)

Published: June 25, 2012 - Added: June 26, 2012 - Publication: Winnipeg Sun

Link http://www.winnipegsun.com/2012/06/25/compromise-is-chief-priority

When it comes to First Nations, the Harper government can't win for losing.

It makes a historic apology for the residential school debacle, it fronts a reconciliation commission, it acquiesces (too much in our view) to unreasonable demands from aboriginal "leadership" in cesspool reserves such as remote Attawapiskat, it negotiates land claim disputes and pipeline routes without being overly aggressive, and yet it still comes out a loser.

Regardless of what it does, too many First Nations leaders still see the federal government as the enemy, despite billions in taxpayer welfare.


Students to Learn More About Legacy of Residential Schools: Allen (Press Release)

Published: June 21, 2012 - Added: June 25, 2012 - Publication: Government of Manitoba web site

Link http://news.gov.mb.ca/news/index.html?item=14659

This fall, Manitoba students will learn more about the legacy of residential school abuse, and the reconciliation and healing that continues today, through new resources including a DVD and accompanying  guide,  Education Minister Nancy Allan announced today at R.B. Russell High School in Winnipeg.

“Residential schools are a tragedy of our past.  Today the legacy of this tragedy lingers still,” said Allan.  “Education is the key that will promote further healing, reconciliation and understanding, and help our students learn about residential schools and how their legacy continues to impact our community today.”


Youth demands more education on residential schools

Published: June 23, 2012 - Added: June 25, 2012 - Publication: Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Link http://www.leaderpost.com/technology/Youth+demand+more+education+residential+schools/6829035/story.html

More than 600 students from 40 Saskatoon Catholic and public schools engaged in a powerful youth panel at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).

Nine students stood at centre stage Friday in Saskatoon's Prairieland Park before representatives from the Saskatchewan Children's Advocate Office, the TRC, the Saskatchewan government and local school boards. They delivered recommendations such as mandatory residential school curriculum and inviting school survivors to more schools.


Residential schools harmed generations

Published: June 25, 2012 - Added: June 25, 2012 - Publication: Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Link http://www.thestarphoenix.com/life/Residential+schools+harmed+generations/6834454/story.html

There are survivors of residential schools and then there are their descendants, who often survived their own abuse and social problems that are the system's legacy, said several people testifying at the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission event in Saskatoon.

Former residential school students gave public testimonies about their experiences alongside younger generations of aboriginal people who told their own stories of surviving dysfunctional families and social struggles. The "inter-generational effects," as people called them, have done as much harm as residential schools, the commission heard during the four-day event.


Commission helps language preservation plan

Published: June 25, 2012 - Added: June 25, 2012 - Publication: Saskatoon

Link http://www.thestarphoenix.com/life/Commission+helps+language+preservation+plan/6834463/story.html

Emile Highway couldn't speak one word of English when he arrived at the Guy Hill Indian Residential School.

He spoke Woodland Cree with his family for his first seven years, but the school didn't allow him or his fellow students to speak their native languages, leaving him without a voice.

"We only used it at the far end of the playground," Highway said at the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission event in Saskatoon. "The English language was a necessity for us to leave behind our traditions. That was the message - being Native was no good. White was right."

Highway is one of 12 people interpreting six languages at the event for the thousands of people who came to hear testimonies from former residential school students and their families. The commission offered interpreters for Woodlands and Plains Cree, Dene, Saulteaux, English and French languages, all of which are recorded and eventually archived, which the commission believes will become an important database for language preservation work.


Former PM Clark bears witness to testimony

Published: June 25, 2012 - Added: June 25, 2012 - Publication: Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Link http://www.thestarphoenix.com/life/Former+Clark+bears+witness+testimony/6834473/story.html

Former prime minister Joe Clark helped lead Canada's charge against South African apartheid and now he is witnessing his own country grapple with a tragic legacy.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Canada's residential school system introduced Clark as an honorary witness at its national event in Saskatoon on the weekend. Clark, who was foreign affairs minister when Canada pushed other G7 nations to sanction South Africa for its apartheid policies, told reporters on Saturday the commission's work will make Canada a better country.

"There is no doubt that the sense of being able to address and resolve their own grievances in a way that allowed the society to move forward together was immensely important to South Africa," Clark said, making a connection between the role of commissions in Canada and Africa.

"On the one hand, it changes the attitude of people who had suffered abuse towards the larger society that abused them. Once the story is told, once the reconciliation has begun, they can be a more equal part of that society."


A recognition of lost birthdays at the TRC brings survivors closer to reconciliation

Published: June 25, 2012 - Added: June 25, 2012 - Publication: CKOM News Talk 650

Link http://www.newstalk650.com/story/recognition-lost-birthdays-trc-brings-survivors-closer-reconciliation/63054

If each residential school survivor in Saskatchewan missed just one birthday then more than 15,000 birthdays were celebrated at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Sunday night.

The TRC provided cake, glow sticks, songs and cheers for all of the survivors who were never able to celebrate their birthdays while attending residential school.

The recognition meant more than just a day of birth.

"Holding this cake ... I don't remember having a birthday," said Bernadette Neapetung, a survivor.

She was at the TRC with her brother George. Both were sent to residential schools.

"It's been a lightening of a load that I have carried for the entirety of my life as a matter of fact. To be able to give a voice to that little boy inside of me and to let all of those things go," George said.
 


Family stands behind school survivor

Published: June 23, 2012 - Added: June 25, 2012 - Publication: Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Link http://www.thestarphoenix.com/life/Family+stands+behind+school+survivor/6829194/story.html

Twelve-year-old Chance Adrian sat on stage with 32 other relatives, listening to his grandfather, Ted Quewezance, tell the audience about his residential school experience.

"(Quewezance) has been talking about this for a long time. I thought it would be good to be here for him," Chance said Friday following the morning session of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada hearings at Prairieland Park.

"I learned a lot. They were treated almost like animals. It was crazy."

Residential school survivors are testifying before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission this week as part of its four-day national gathering in Saskatoon, which continues through the weekend.

Survivors are generally accompanied by a spouse, friend or counsellor as they testify. Chance and the rest of his family, wearing colourful matching scarves, decided they all needed to be there.


Residential schools survivors share stories with church leaders

Published: June 22, 2012 - Added: June 25, 2012 - Publication: CKOM News Talk 650

Link http://www.newstalk650.com/story/residential-school-survivors-share-stories-church-leaders/62874

Church leaders from several denominations gathered in Saskatoon to listen and apologize to residential school survivors. 

"The churches need to acknowledge, listen and play our part in reconciliation as much as possible," said Rev. Amy Bunce with the Anglican Church of Canada.

An intimate corner at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) Saskatchewan national event is designated for these sharing circles.

Each denomination that played a role in the residential school government policy has written a sincere and personal apology for the atrocities committed while First Nations children were under their care.


Church leaders hear TRC accounts

Published: June 24, 2012 - Added: June 25, 2012 - Publication: Global Saskatoon

Link http://www.globalsaskatoon.com/church+leaders+hear+trc+accounts/6442667407/story.html

Church leaders have been in Saskatoon this weekend to listen and apologize to residential school survivors.

The National Event has been part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on residential schools.

United Church Minister David Kim-Cragg says it's been hard to accept that the church did such horrible things.

He says one woman told him how her parents were forced to hand over their kids to a residential school and were threatened with jail if they didn't.


I never learned to be a mom

Published: June 25, 2012 - Added: June 25, 2012 - Publication: Anglican Journal.com

Link http://www.anglicanjournal.com/nc/other/news-items/c/sliders/article/i-never-learned-how-to-be-a-mum-10920//abp/141.html

One Mother's Day, Shirley Gamble's children gave her a gift. "What good have I ever done as a mother to deserve this?" she asked them, weeping. As a young First Nation child in Manitoba, English-speaking Gamble had been wrested from her parents and sent to a Roman Catholic residential school, where she was taught by French-speaking nuns." I was never around my own parents, so I never learned how to be a mum," she said tearfully at the recent hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission event in Saskatoon. 


Missing Children Project compiling information to fill gaps

Published: June 23, 2012 - Added: June 25, 2012 - Publication: CJME News Talk 980

Link http://cjme.com/story/missing-children-project-compiling-information-fill-gaps/62979

The Missing Children Project is compiling information about children who never returned from residential schools.

As a part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada the project is attempting to help families heal. 

"Everybody wants to know where their dead family members are buried, that is an important thing to know... If you have members of your family that have died in the past at (residential) schools that is a big gap," said research project manager Alex Maass.

Students who did not return became known as the Missing Children and many parents never found out what happened.

The project has three main objectives: to create a national register of deaths at residential schools, to find lost cemeteries and map them, and to create a bigger investigation into health issues.


Missing and dead residential school children

Published: June 25, 2012 - Added: June 25, 2012 - Publication: Windspeaker (Volume 30, Number 4, 2012)

Link http://www.ammsa.com/publications/windspeaker/missing-and-dead-residential-school-children

So far there are 120 cases identified by Ontario’s Coroner’s Office of missing and dead children from the province‘s Indian reidential schools, and it’s said this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Ontario has taken the lead in the search for information that might help families learn what happened to their children, removed from them and sent to the schools, never to be seen again. The province’s Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs provided $20,000 to the coroner’s office to hire staff to carry out a search of the records. That work began earlier this year.

Using an electronic search, 5,000 cases were chosen from 250,000 coroner’s files. Each of those files was read through in light of information presented by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and 120 files were pulled for final examination by the TRC.


Closing a sordid chapter in the history of Canada (Opinion Column)

Published: June 23, 2012 - Added: June 25, 2012 - Publication: St. Thomas Times Journal

Link http://www.stthomastimesjournal.com/2012/06/23/closing-a-sordid-chapter-in-the-history-of-canada

Remember, reconcile, rejoice.

        The three words that prompted City Scope to embark on a field trip this week to Chippewas of the Thames First Nation for the student commemorative gathering at the site of the former Mount Elgin Indian Residential School, near Muncey.

        The two-day ceremony included the unveiling of a monument to the survivors of residential schools - a sordid chapter in this country's history that eluded the radar of most Canadians until the creation, in 2008, of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, whose mandate is to bring to light the truth about these schools and enlighten the populace.


TRC inducts honourary witnesses

Published: June 22, 2012 - Added: June 25, 2012 - Publication: Anglican Journal.com

Link http://www.anglicanjournal.com/nc/other/news-items/c/sliders/article/trc-inducts-new-honorary-witnesses-10919//abp/141.html

The June 22nd sessions of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s National Event here saw the induction of five new honorary witnesses, including two youth witnesses. As TRC Commissioner Marie Wilson explained, honorary witnesses are prominent people from all walks of life whose commitment to the common weal and informed opinions are respected. Importantly, they can spread the message of truth and reconciliation and the work of the TRC in the widest circles.

“We need help to face the facts of the past and the potential of the present and the future,” Wilson told those assembled. “You are here to bear witness to what will happen in the coming days. We need helpers to…commit to taking this forward and teaching others and spreading the word.”


Walking procession helps participants of TRC heal

Published: June 21, 2012 - Added: June 22, 2012 - Publication: CJME News Talk 980

Link http://cjme.com/story/walking-procession-helps-participants-trc-heal/62584

A couple dozen people walked with purpose through Saskatoon Thursday as part of the Truth and Reconciliation commission.

The procession started at Wanuskawin and arrived at Prairieland Park by the afternoon.

Deanne Kasokeo was among those walking. She said she is walking to support Residential School survivors.

“All the ones that are survivors today, the ones that have passed on, we honour them because we still as First Nations people still have our culture and we’ve survived. That’s why I’m here supporting,” said Kasokeo.


Reconciliation ceremonies get started

Published: June 22, 2012 - Added: June 22, 2012 - Publication: Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Link http://www.leaderpost.com/life/Reconciliation+ceremonies+started/6822092/story.html

Indian residential school survivors who have gathered in the hundreds at Prairieland Park are encouraging all Saskatchewan people to join them this weekend on a journey of reconciliation.

"People need to know what we went through," said George Benson, 78. "I hope we can work with our white brothers and sisters, be-cause the story's not finished yet."

Benson, a Red Pheasant Cree Nation member and Korean War veteran who attended residential schools in Delmas and Duck Lake, was one of hundreds of residential school survivors in the audience Thursday for the opening ceremonies of Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada hearings.

Aside from the former residential school students, the Prairieland Park grandstand was filled with hundreds of aboriginal children, church and government officials and spectators, both aboriginal and non-aboriginal.

The ceremonies Thursday marked the start of a four-day gathering hosted by the TRC. The main feature will be the public testimony of survivors and others, but there will be film screenings, public meetings, concerts and other events. There are dozens of displays in the main hall explaining the history of each Saskatchewan residential school, as well as counsellors and other support staff.


Saskatoon accueille un rassemblement national de la Commission de vérité et réconciliation

Published: June 21, 2012 - Added: June 22, 2012 - Publication: Radio-Canada.ca (Saskatchewan)

Link http://www.radio-canada.ca/regions/saskatchewan/2012/06/21/001-rassemblement-commission-verite-saskatoon.shtml

Le grand rassemblement national lié à la Commission de vérité et réconciliation du Canada bat son plein au parc Prairieland de Saskatoon jusqu'à dimanche.

La première journée est consacrée à préparer les témoignages publics d'anciens pensionnaires. Des ateliers sont offerts aux survivants, car si livrer un témoignage est une expérience libératrice pour certains, elle peut aussi être très difficile psychologiquement.

Les victimes auront d'ailleurs le choix de témoigner publiquement ou de le faire en privé.


Time to move on for the sake of future generations (Column)

Published: June 22, 2012 - Added: June 22, 2012 - Publication: Saskatoon Star Phoenix

Link http://www.thestarphoenix.com/sports/Time+move+sake+future+generations/6822506/story.html

As noted American social reformer Frederick Douglass observed, "It is easier to raise healthy children than to fix broken men."

The legacy of the boarding schools remains an open wound in Indian country.

This week Saskatoon hosts one of seven national gatherings hosted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was set up in response to the residential school settlement agreement.

Residential schools are a part of the colonial legacy. Canada isn't the only country that embraced this approach, with boarding schools established in the United States and Australia as well. But Canada had a vast network of them, with its unique history especially conducive to boarding schools.

The boarding school experience had various effects on the survivors. Some were able to move on, while others sank into despair. Still others soldiered on, with the past locked up inside them.

The recent settlement and subsequent discussions have brought old memories back to the surface and our people are seeking closure.

I realize that you can't bury the past, but we need to move on. It's said that if you can't get over something the best you can do is get through it. We have to think of future generations, and I hope that time is now.


School survivor gives back by providing cultural support

Published: June 22, 2012 - Added: June 22, 2012 - Publication: Saskatoon Star Phoenix

Link http://www.thestarphoenix.com/life/fashion-beauty/School+survivor+gives+back+providing+cultural+support/6822494/story.html

When Howard Walker was seven years old, he and his older sister were taken away from their home on the James Smith Cree Nation to the residential school in Prince Albert, as their parents were threatened they would go to jail if their children were not allowed to go.

From 1951 to 1961, Walker endured physical, mental and sexual abuse in the Prince Albert residential school and Gordon residential school near Punnichy .

Today, at age 68, sporting his signature cowboy hat and long hair, Walker stands tall at the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) event in Saskatoon.

"Now I can put that resentment aside and put understanding in its place, that each and everyone one of us, regardless of race, we all go through some of the things we go through," said Walker.

Walker is one of more than 420 health support workers organized through Health Canada who are wearing blue vests, assisting hundreds of residential school survivors at the TRC event at Prairieland Park.

From offering prayer and smudging ceremonies or just offering a listening ear, the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program helps in numerous ways.


Event gives residential school survivors a chance to speak

Published: June 22, 2012 - Added: June 22, 2012 - Publication: Saskatoon Metro

Link http://metronews.ca/news/saskatoon/272416/event-gives-residential-school-survivors-a-chance-to-speak/

Survivors of Canada’s residential schools were in Saskatchewan Thursday for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s national event and some say they’ve been waiting a long time for a chance to tell their stories.

Caroline Wasacase, a survivor who was there for support said discussing her experience is hard.

“We have been waiting some time I tell you,” said Wasacase, “It has affected all of our families for so many generations now—it’s hard.”

Albert Bear, who is not a residential school survivor but attended an “Indian day school,” run by the federal government said he saw similar abuses as in residential schools and feels the event is the start of a healing process.

“Now they can look back with a mature perspective at the traumatic experience and they can come to terms with it—with the proper coping tools—to forget, to forgive and to let go,” said Bear. “After disclosing it, it’s coming to terms with the traumatic event.”


Residential School Survivors Gather in Saskatoon

Published: June 21, 2012 - Added: June 22, 2012 - Publication: Vancouver Media Coop

Link http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/story/residential-school-survivors-gather-saskatoon/11454

An eagle circled overhead as the Indian Residential School Survivor Walk participants arrived at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission national event in Saskatoon this morning. As they arrived, walkers gathered around the sacred fire that will burn in Exhibition Park throughout the four-day event.

Led by residential school survivor and former NHL player Fred Sasakamoose, dozens of walkers of all ages began their trek on June 18th at St. Michael's residential school in Duck Lake, Saskatchewan. They joined hundreds of others already in attendance at Prairieland Park after the opening ceremonies for the event. More participants are expected tomorrow and this weekend, when those affected by the legacy of the residential school system will share their experiences with the Commission.


Fire lights the way forward for Truth and Reconciliation event

Published: June 21, 2012 - Added: June 22, 2012 - Publication: CJME News Talk Radio 980

Link http://cjme.com/story/fire-lights-way-forward-truth-and-reconciliation-event/62651

As the sun rose over Saskatoon this morning, about 200 people gathered in Exhibition Park to watch as the sacred fire of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was lit.

The fire will continuously burn for four days and four nights in honour of residential school survivors and children who died in the schools.

This fire will ceremonially burn all the tears cried at TRC events. All the tissues used for tears at this national event are collected in paper bags and brought to this fire where they will be burned. People are also invited to bring tobacco or use the tobacco provided and put it into this fire.


Fourth TRC national event opens in Saskatoon

Published: June 21, 2012 - Added: June 22, 2012 - Publication: AnglicanJournal.com

Link http://www.anglicanjournal.com/nc/other/news-items/c/sliders/article/fourth-trc-national-event-opens-in-saskatoon-10912//abp/141.html

Mr. Justice Murray Sinclair opened the fourth national event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Prairieland Park, Saskatoon, by thanking the leaders of Treaty 6 for inviting the commission into their lands He also thanked all those, from survivors to commissioners and organizers, who have participated in the TRC’s work to date.

Saskatchewan, the chair of the TRC commissioners noted, has one of Canada’s highest numbers of survivors of the residential schools system—some 30,000 First Nation and Métis people have applied for compensation under the class-action settlement agreement.


John Vissers and Presbyterian delegation attend Truth and Reconciliation Commission event in Saskatoon June 21-24

Published: June 20, 2012 - Added: June 22, 2012 - Publication: Presbyterian Church of Canada web site

Link http://www.presbyterian.ca/pcconnect/daily/6320

The fourth national event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission begins on Thursday, June 21, 2012 in Saskatoon and concludes Sunday, June 24. John Vissers, Moderator of the 138th General Assembly, is in attendance and will be accompanied by Stephen Kendall (Principal Clerk, General Assembly), Rick Fee (General Secretary, Life and Mission Agency) and David Phillips (Healing and Reconciliation Animator). There will be a delegation from the Women’s Missionary Society including Joan Smith (President), Janet Brewer (Treasurer) and Sarah Kim (Executive Secretary). They are joined by Kim Arnold (Presbyterian Archives) and Seth Veenstra (Presbyterian Record).


University of Saskatchewan projects coincide with Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Press Release)

Published: June 21, 2012 - Added: June 22, 2012 - Publication: University of Saskatchewan web site

Link http://announcements.usask.ca/news/archive/2012/06/university_of_s_132.html

The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) honours the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). As an institution of higher learning and research, our highest concern is enabling individuals to contribute to their communities.  Our mission includes supporting our students and staff with respect to their own residential school experiences, and supporting all people, Aboriginal and others, to engage with the legacies of the past and the issues of the present in order to make our communities better places for all. The U of S was founded to support the development of the province based on values such as openness and respect.  We bring those values to our work today in promoting intercultural engagement and assisting First Nations and Métis communities.  We are proud to support the work of truth and reconciliation through our educational and scholarly activities.


Truth and Reconciliation Commission's event begins

Published: June 21, 2012 - Added: June 22, 2012 - Publication: CJME News Talk 980

Link http://cjme.com/story/truth-and-reconciliation-commissions-event-begins/62617

Over the next four days, Prairieland Park in Saskatoon will be busy with many events, centered around one main activity -- healing.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Saskatchewan National Event will hear from many former residential school students who were the subject of a government effort to assimilate them.

These students were ripped from their families and many were sexually and physically abused by teachers, priest and nuns.

The TRC is here to witness and record the 150 year period in Canada's history, through the words of the survivors.


Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Today I was heard

Published: June 20, 2012 - Added: June 21, 2012 - Publication: Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Link http://www.thestarphoenix.com/news/Truth+Reconciliation+Commission+Today+heard/6815301/story.html

Richard Halkett sat on top of a picnic table in the bright sunlight, taking a few deep breaths and wiping tears from his reddened eyes.

“I feel like I can breathe now,” said the 43-year-old residential school survivor. “I’ve waited 30 years to be heard. No one listened to me screaming back then, but today, I was heard.”

Halkett had just testified before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) in a Lac La Ronge Indian Band arena. Halkett, like dozens of others during the three-day event held earlier this month, called forth painful memories of family separation, loss of culture and sexual abuse. And like many of the others, Halkett spoke of the resulting dysfunction in his life — drug addiction, crime, homelessness and an inability to love or trust.


AFN, Aboriginal Affairs shoulder responsibility for elder’s suicide: family

Published: June 20, 2012 - Added: June 21, 2012 - Publication: APTN National News

Link http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2012/06/20/afn-aboriginal-affairs-shoulder-responsibility-for-elders-suicide-family/

The suicide of an elder the day he was scheduled to begin the independent assessment process (IAP) for his residential school settlement has people wondering how he fell through the cracks.

Many people are asking where the safety net was and who is responsible to prove help and support for residential school survivors about to relive the horrors of their physical and sexual abuse.

APTN National News reporter Rob Smith spoke with a cousin of the elder who recounts his own experience with the IAP.  (This text introduces a video report.)


Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on National Aboriginal Day

Published: June 21, 2012 - Added: June 21, 2012 - Publication: Prime Minister of Canada's web site

Link http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?category=3&featureId=6&pageId=49&id=4879

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark National Aboriginal Day:

“Today we celebrate the rich and diverse culture of our country’s Aboriginal peoples and reflect upon the important role they have played and continue to play in shaping modern-day Canada.

“Our Government has made strengthening this relationship a priority. For instance, in 2008 we issued an historic apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools, and in 2010, we endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples. In January of this year, we also participated alongside First Nations in the historic Crown-First Nations Gathering to set the context for renewed collaboration.


Déclaration du Premier ministre du Canada à l'occasion de la Journée nationale des Autochtones

Published: June 21, 2012 - Added: June 21, 2012 - Publication: Site web du Premier ministre du Canada

Link http://www.pm.gc.ca/fra/media.asp?category=3&featureId=6&pageId=49&id=4879

Le Premier ministre Stephen Harper a fait la déclaration suivante aujourd’hui pour souligner la Journée nationale des Autochtones :

« Aujourd’hui, nous célébrons la richesse et la diversité de la culture des peuples autochtones de notre pays et réfléchissons par le fait même au rôle important qu’ils ont joué et qu’ils continuent de jouer en façonnant le Canada d’aujourd’hui.

« Pour notre gouvernement, renforcer cette relation constitue une priorité. Par exemple, en 2008, nous avons présenté des excuses historiques aux anciens élèves des pensionnats indiens, et en 2010, nous avons appuyé la Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les droits des peuples autochtones. En janvier dernier, nous avons également participé aux côtés des Premières Nations au rassemblement de la Couronne et des Premières Nations, un événement historique qui a permis d’établir les conditions propices au renouvellement de notre collaboration.


Sharing a sombre legacy

Published: June 21, 2012 - Added: June 21, 2012 - Publication: London Free Press

Link http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2012/06/20/19901721.html#/news/london/2012/06/20/pf-19900621.html

NATIVE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS: Closed 66 years ago, the Mount Elgin residential school scarred generations of native kids and families. Wednesday, some told their stories to reporter Jane Sims.


Surviving residential schools made Harper stronger

Published: June 21, 2012 - Added: June 21, 2012 - Publication: London Free Press

Link http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2012/06/20/19901231.html

He was introduced as a "rock star" and a "hero."

A former MP and Manitoba MLA, Elijah Harper, left, is the Cree leader who said "no" to the Meech Lake Accord in 1990, helping kill the deal to roll Quebec into the constitutional fold, because it was negotiated without native input.

The residential school survivor also was instrumental in creating National Aboriginal Day, which will be marked across Canada today.

Wednesday, Harper sat down with The Free Press to field questions about the native residential school experience and the scars its grim legacy has left.


telling truths to reconcile and build new relationship

Published: June 20, 2012 - Added: June 21, 2012 - Publication: Metro Saskatoon

Link http://metronews.ca/news/saskatoon/270852/telling-truths-to-reconcile-and-build-new-relationships/

The Saskatchewan National Truth and Reconciliation event this weekend at Prairieland Park will be emotional and powerful for every participant.

And, as proven through previous community and national events, sharing truths and bearing witness to them are vital in repairing relationships between first nations people and the non-native population in Saskatchewan.

“One of the major purposes is for the public to learn from survivors themselves,” said Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner Chief Wilton Littlechild. “It’s a legacy that all Canadians need to know about.”


Supporting cast beats drum to ease the pain

Published: June 21, 2012 - Added: June 21, 2012 - Publication: Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Link http://www.thestarphoenix.com/news/saskatchewan/Supporting+cast+beats+drum+ease+pain/6816169/story.html

Tanner Cook's voice rang out across the gymnasium.

Loud, clear and strong his "way-i-hah, hey-i-hah" pierced the air. His drumming circle joined in, their voices blending into a mesmerizing ballet of highs and lows, punctuated by the drum beat.

Tanner, along with his brother Gabrielle, sister Jennifer, mom Anne and Gabrielle's wife Sophia, form the multicultural Rainbow Buffalo Singers.

The group performed throughout the three days of testimony at La Ronge's Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings (TRC). After each person's testimony, the drummers would play as a show of respect.

Tanner said it was an honour to drum at the TRC. He's proud of the survivors for testifying.

"The schools tried to eliminate our caring and love for one another. This is undoing what they taught us in residential schools."


Former Residential School Students Commemorated at Special Gathering

Published: June 18, 2012 - Added: June 21, 2012 - Publication: NationTalk.ca

Link http://www.nationtalk.ca/modules/news/article.php?storyid=55163

Former students of the Mount Elgin Indian Residential School will receive special recognition from their leaders and community members this week when a new monument is unveiled at Chippewas of the Thames First Nation. Hundreds of people from Ontario, Quebec and parts of the US are expected to gather Wednesday, June 20 & Thursday, June 21, 2012 for the Mount Elgin Indian Residential School Student Commemorative Gathering. Invited dignitaries include National Chief Shawn Atleo, former National Chief Phil Fontaine and the Cree political icon, Elijah Harper.

“We want this commemoration to honour the strength and resilience of those who were forced to attend the school here so many years ago,” says Joe Miskokomon, Chief of the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation. “It’s about turning something that was very negative for so many of us, into something we can all be proud of, and leave behind for future generations.” The event will feature the unveiling of a seven pillar monument, bearing the names of more than 1,100 students who attended the school from as many as 18 First Nations communities in southern Ontario and parts of Quebec.


Article touches daughter (Letter to the Editor)

Published: June 20, 2012 - Added: June 20, 2012 - Publication: London Free Press

Link http://www.lfpress.com/comment/2012/06/19/19895681.html

Regarding the article 'Working like hell' (June 16).

It was shocking to pick up The Free Press and see a picture of an old barn board with the scrawled signature of "Harold Bressette", age 14, weight 111 lbs." It was written by my father more than 80 years ago. He spent eight years in the Mount Elgin Indian Residential School, forced to work long hours with little food and plenty of beatings, especially for speaking his native language.

My mom attended the same school a few years later and suffered a similar fate. One memory haunted her. About eight-years old, she was walking across the schoolyard and looked up to see a small girl standing at one of the school's highest windows. The child hesitated, looked back briefly and jumped to her death. She was never mentioned again.

Most of Canada would like these stories to go away, but those of us who lived through it or have loved ones who did will not forget.

I will be at the unveiling of the memorial in Chippewa on June 20. My parents' names will be on the monument and I will also remember the nameless little girl who chose death over whatever was behind her in that room.

Janet (Bressette) George

Port Franks


TRC • Prairieland Park in Saskatoon • June 21-24, 2012

Published: June 19, 2012 - Added: June 20, 2012 - Publication: Field Law web site

Link http://www.fieldlaw.com/blogs/residentialschools/2012/06/19/trc-%E2%80%A2-prairieland-park-in-saskatoon-%E2%80%A2-june-21-24-2012/

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s next national event will be held in Saskatoon on June 21-24, 2012 at Prairieland Park.  In preparation for the Saskatoon national event, the TRC is holding hearings in several Saskatchewan communities.  TRC Community Hearings and National Events are free and open to everyone.  Please visit http://www.trc.ca/ for more information and to view the community hearings schedule. 

 Most of Field Law’s Indian Residential School Group will be attending the national event in Saskatoon.  We look forward to seeing you there.  If you would like to meet with us in Saskatoon, please call so we can arrange a time to see you.


Residential school 101 to provide education, personal stories

Published: June 19, 2012 - Added: June 20, 2012 - Publication: CJME News Talk 980

Link http://cjme.com/story/residential-school-101-provide-education-personal-stories/62254

With the Truth and Reconciliation Commission coming to town, and many people not quite knowing what that means, the commission paired with the City of Saskatoon and United Way to explain.

A sort-of residential school 101 starts this afternoon at 2 p.m. at the Farmers Market in Saskatoon, to provide an education session for anyone interested in learning more about the residential school system in Canada.

“I’ll be telling them the history of residential schools and Maria and I will be sharing our own personal stories through the residential schools and our recovery from the effects of residential schools and our work that we do as elders,” said elder, Walter Linklater about what he and his wife, Maria, will speak about at the session.


Playwright talks about forgiveness in play

Published: June 19, 2012 - Added: June 19, 2012 - Publication: Regina Leader-Post

Link http://www.leaderpost.com/Playwright+talks+about+forgiveness+play/6803743/story.html

As part of National Aboriginal Day celebrations, a First Nations playwright is bringing her play to Regina for two days.

Vera Tourangeau deals with controversial issues from the past and present such as gangs, violence, jail and residential schools in her play, My Kokum Prayed for Me.

Performances are to take place at the Applause Feast and Folly Theatre with 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. shows on Thursday and Friday.


Monument unveiling part of nation's healing

Published: June 19, 2012 - Added: June 19, 2012 - Publication: London Free Press

Link http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2012/06/18/19891991.html

It was one of Canada’s earliest and longest-running native residential schools.

Wednesday, a who’s who of regional and national First Nations leaders will be at a monument-unveiling at the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, honouring the 1,200 kids who went through the Mount Elgin Industrial School before it closed in 1946. Many survivors remember beatings, forced labour and being stripped of their culture.

The Free Press talked to one national First Nations leader who will be there, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo, about the event’s significance.


Le ministre Duncan annonce les projets de 2012-2013 pour le Programme d'information publique et de défense des intérêts

Published: June 18, 2012 - Added: June 19, 2012 - Publication: Communiqué des Affaires autochtones et du développement du Nord canadien (Ref. #2-3671)

Link http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/fra/1340047023687/1340047061120

L'honorable John Duncan, ministre des Affaires autochtones et du développement du Nord canadien, a dévoilé aujourd'hui les 22 projets qui recevront du financement dans le cadre du Programme d'information publique et de défense des intérêts (PIPDI) pour l'exercice 2012-2013. On finance des organisations par l'intermédiaire du PIPDI depuis 2007-2008, soit la première année de l'application de la Convention de règlement relative aux pensionnats indiens, pour s'assurer que les collectivités autochtones sont au courant de tous les aspects de la Convention.

« Notre Gouvernement est résolu à favoriser la réconciliation entre les Autochtones, leurs familles, leurs collectivités et tous les Canadiens, a déclaré le ministre Duncan. Ces investissements facilitent l'établissement de nouveaux partenariats, encouragent et consolident la guérison partout au Canada. »


Minister Duncan announces 2012-2013 projects for the Advocacy and Public Information Program

Published: June 18, 2012 - Added: June 19, 2012 - Publication: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada press release (Ref. #2-3671)

Link http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1340047023687

The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, announced today the 22 projects selected for Advocacy and Public Information Program (APIP) funding for 2012-2013. APIP has been funding organizations since 2007-2008, the first year of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (Settlement Agreement), to ensure that Aboriginal communities are aware of all aspects of the agreement.

"Our Government is committed to promoting reconciliation among Aboriginal people, their families and communities, and all Canadians," said Minister Duncan. "These investments help build new partnerships and promote and strengthen healing across Canada."


Irish cardinal expresses shame for church failures about abuse victims

Published: June 15, 2012 - Added: June 18, 2012 - Publication: The Catholic Registry

Link http://www.catholicregister.org/news/international/item/14716-irish-cardinal-expresses-shame-for-church-failures-about-abuse-victims

As the daily theme for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress switched to reconciliation, Irish Cardinal Sean Brady told pilgrims he was ashamed that the Church had failed to respond properly to abuse allegations.

"May God forgive us for the times when we, as individuals and as a Church, failed to seek out and care for those little ones who were frightened, alone and in pain because someone was abusing them," the cardinal, primate of All Ireland, told pilgrims in a rain-swept stadium June 14.

Brady came under sustained pressure to resign from abuse victims' groups because he knew about the crimes of one notorious abuser, Fr. Brendan Smyth, in 1975 but did not report him to the civil authorities. Smyth went on to abuse children for many years before being finally jailed in 1994.

Addressing abuse victims, the cardinal said: "That we did not always respond to your cries with the concern of the Good Shepherd is a matter of deep shame. We lament the burdens of the painful memories you carry. We pray for healing and peace for those whose suffering continues."


Law firm in midst of residential school payout controversy shuts doors

Published: June 16, 2012 - Added: June 18, 2012 - Publication: APTN National News

Link http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2012/06/16/law-firm-in-midst-of-residential-school-payout-controversy-shuts-doors/

The Calgary law firm at the centre of a residential school compensation scandal is closing its doors at the end of the month.

A lawyer for Blott & Company surprised a B.C. Supreme Court hearing Friday with the news.

His client is laying everyone off, lawyer Roy Millen told Justice Brenda Brown, and will cease to operate as of June 30, 2012.

David Blott’s practice, which only worked on compensation or Independent Assessment Process files, was being wound down by the court anyway. It was punishment for what Brown described in a June 5 court order as a violation of clients’ trust and breaching the IAP, in part, through a “loan scheme.”

Blott’s dealings – and those of his associates – with physical and sexual abuse victims of Indian Residential Schools were investigated after complaints were filed with the court late last year.


Dark residential school memories still pushing many over the edge

Published: 6-, 2010 - Added: June 18, 2012 - Publication: APTN National News

Link http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2012/06/15/dark-residential-school-memories-still-pushing-many-over-the-edge/

The recent suicide of a 63 year-old elder prompted a group of family members and health care workers to come together to share their pain and give Canada a message: It’s time to help

They spoke for over an hour, they spoke about the horrors of residential schools, the impact of suicide, the re-victimization by the residential school payout and their hopes for rebuilding their community.  (This text introduces a video report.)


Fourth Anniversary of the Residential Schools Apology

Published: June 11, 2012 - Added: June 18, 2012 - Publication: Web site of Carolyn Bennett, MP

Link http://carolynbennett.liberal.ca/blog/fourth-anniversary-of-the-residential-schools-apology/

Today is the 4th anniversary of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s historic residential schools apologyUnfortunately, the promise of a new relationship between Aboriginal peoples and other Canadians that existed on the day of the apology has been squandered. National Chief Sean Atleo said that we are at a real moment of reckoning on the 4th anniversary of the apology. 

The apology means nothing if Canadians do not understand why the apology was necessary and the devastating multi-generational impacts that colonization, and specifically the residential school system, have had on Aboriginal peoples.

Implementation of the Indian residential schools settlement agreement began on September 19, 2007 and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has begun its work to learn the truth about what happened in the schools and to inform all Canadians.

But the Interim Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was released, all too quietly, on February 24, 2012, a Friday in a week that Parliament wasn’t sitting. The report was elegant and direct. The Commission will need adequate funding to do its work properly and its timeline extended.  There must be adequate funding for healing, including restoring the funding for the highly successful Aboriginal Healing Foundation.  This was the reason for an interim report – an open plea for help.

Despite the optimism that surrounded the apology four years ago, this government is turning its back on First Nations, Métis and Inuit Canadians and the Canadian values of compassion and fairness.  

 It is so sad.  We must do better.  The Truth and Reconciliation must happen.  Stephen Harper spoke the important words of the apology in 2008, but has failed to live up to the real action that was to follow.  He should be ashamed.


Working like Hell

Published: June 15, 2012 - Added: June 18, 2012 - Publication: London Free Press

Link http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2012/06/15/19884506.html

SPECIAL REPORT: Like a rare painting that turns up in a garage sale, an old barn on the site of a London-area native residential school has astounded scholars with revealing messages left behind on its walls by some of the 1,200 children forced to attend the Mount Elgin farm school before it was shut down in 1946. 

A new light, however, will fall on the words now. On Wednesday, a monument to the children who attended the Mount Elgin Residential School on the Chippewas of Thames Reserve will be unveiled.

To prepare for that ceremony, promoter Sherry Huff listened to the stories of the school's survivors. Among the stories of abuse and neglect by adults determined to force native children to forget their own culture, the survivors spoke about working in the horse barn and pencilling inscriptions or chalking sketches in the wood of the hayloft above.

Huff told The Free Press, which sent out journalists, who've now told scholars who've written histories of residential schools.

"This is absolutely wonderful. It is an important find," says John Milloy, a Trent University professor, special advisor to the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission -- charged with learning more about residential schools -- and author of a book on residential schools, A National Crime.


Truth and Reconciliation Commission Meets June 21, Saskatoon

Published: June 15, 2012 - Added: June 18, 2012 - Publication: United Church of Canada press release

Link http://www.united-church.ca/communications/news/general/120615

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's fourth national event, to be held in Saskatoon from June 21 (National Aboriginal Day) to June 24, promises to be the biggest one yet. Tens of thousands of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are expected to gather in that city's Prairieland Park for four days of sharing testimony from the survivors of Indian Residential Schools and their families, and of healing together.

We'd like to invite you to attend, if possible, or at least to watch some of the proceedings on live webcast. Even better, arrange to watch it with some folks from your church community and discuss it together afterwards. Aboriginal-themed worship resources are available on our Aboriginal Day of Prayer page; prayers related to the residential schools legacy are at Worship by Theme.


Closing the achievement gap for Toronto’s aboriginal students

Published: June 16, 2012 - Added: June 18, 2012 - Publication: Toronto Star

Link http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1212344--this-school-makes-me-proud-of-who-i-am

They are undetected on the public radar, lost behind more high-profile waves of immigrants who take their turn in the spotlight. But the largest group of aboriginals live not in scattered northern outposts, but in the GTA — some have called Toronto the biggest First Nation reserve in the country. They likely number 70,000 and they’re the fastest-growing group of homegrown Canadians, with nearly twice the birth rate of everyone else.

So it’s alarming that they still struggle with learning, even here in the south, in schools paid for by the richer funding formula of Queen’s Park, not the cash-starved portables on federally funded outposts.

What is the reason? York University professor Susan Dion said generations of native Canadians have inherited a distrust of formal schooling born of the residential school scandal. Modern schools still don’t know how to reach out, especially in Toronto, where the aboriginal community is scattered. Teachers don’t know much about aboriginal history and culture and admit they haven’t been taught how to connect with students who can be shy or suspicious.

“We learned the residential schools wanted to kill the Indian in the child,” Lucas Nadishaakas said. “My grandfather went to a residential school. That made me disappointed to be Canadian. There should be at least a little bit about aboriginals in all school curriculum.”


Give a positive view of residential schools (Letter to the Editor)

Published: June 18, 2012 - Added: June 18, 2012 - Publication: Western Catholic Reporter

Link http://wcr.ab.ca/Columns/Letters/tabid/89/entryid/2609/Default.aspx

 was somewhat surprised and saddened by the opening paragraphs of the article by Michael Swan (WCR June 11) on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

The tenor of the article and its assumptions would, I think, be more at home in the liberal press than in a Catholic paper. What I found most disagreeable was the use of the term "residential school survivors."

This choice of words is a construct of the liberal media to afford an implicit comparison to the Holocaust, not for the aid of the native community but to denigrate the efforts of countless well-meaning religious.

Much has been written about the residential schools and their problems and much more will be written. What I would hope to see in the WCR is a more balanced assessment of the subject.


Northern students to learn residential school legacy

Published: June 14, 2012 - Added: June 15, 2012 - Publication: CBC.ca (North)

Link http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2012/06/14/north-residential-school-curriculum.html

After a successful pilot program this spring, some high school students in Nunavut and the N.W.T. will learn the legacy of Canada’s residential school system as part of their fall curriculum.

Aboriginal children were taken from their families and forced to attend the schools, the first of which opened in the 1870s and the last of which closed in 1996.

The course, which includes taped interviews with survivors, was tested in select classrooms in May. It is designed for students in grades 10 and 11.

"Our sense is not only to understand just a historical take on residential schools in the Canadian context, but also to say, what are the things that allowed them to happen? We need to understand as Canadians [and] as northern citizens," said John Stewart, the northern studies coordinator with the N.W.T. department of education.


Day school lawyer joins race for national chief

Published: June 15, 2012 - Added: June 15, 2012 - Publication: Ottawa Citizen (Postmedia News)

Link http://www.canada.com/school+lawyer+joins+race+national+chief/6786551/story.html

Vancouver Island's Shawn Atleo, current national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, is facing competition this year as he tries for re-election.

Among the names being thrown into the ring is that of Indian day school lawyer Joan Jack, who has become known to local First Nations people through her visits to the area in connection with her work on a lawsuit to gain recompense for day school survivors.


First Nations Report - Truth Will Out

Published: June 14, 2012 - Added: June 15, 2012 - Publication: Planet S Magazine

Link http://www.planetsmag.com/story.php?id=870

It’s a national shame — and we haven’t even begun to make reparations.

Starting over 140 years ago, aboriginal people in this country were forced into residential schools — funded by a Canadian government which believed they were responsible for the education and development of Canada's aboriginal people. That “education” was in fact “aggressive assimilation,” where English, Christian, and Canadian customs would be passed on — forcibly erasing native traditions in the process.


Judge to oversee Moncton conciliation

Published: June 15, 2012 - Added: June 15, 2012 - Publication: The Catholic Register

Link http://www.catholicregister.org/news/canada/item/14706-judge-to-oversee-moncton-conciliation

Former Supreme Court Judge Michel Bastarache plans to wrap up a conciliation process with sexual abuse victims in the archdiocese of Moncton within a year.

Bastarache has been tapped by Archbishop André Richard to meet with victims of Fr. Camille Léger and award monetary settlements of $15,000 to $300,000. The archdiocese has also been offering counselling to victims through the Beauséjour Family Crisis Centre since April.

Working through Bastarache, the process will be independent of the diocesan administration and will maintain anonymity for those victims who don’t want their names publicly associated with Leger’s sexual abuse. Bastarache will also cut the lawyers, legal fees and lengthy court process from the equation.

“This process is meant to be non-confrontational, and as simple and expeditious as possible,” said Bastarache in a press release.

Leger died in 1990. He was never convicted of any crimes.


Living in a prison

Published: June 15, 2012 - Added: June 15, 2012 - Publication: London Free Press

Link http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2012/06/15/19881461.html#/news/london/2012/06/14/pf-19879716.html

For most of his life, he's answered to George L. Beeswax.

But his real name is Askon, meaning horn or antler in his native Ojibway.

It was a language forbidden at the native residential school Beeswax attended in the 1940s on the Chippewas of the Thames native reserve, southwest of London.

Known as the Mount Elgin Indian Industrial School, it was one of Canada's earliest and longest-running residential schools.

Vintage pictures from the day show an impressive Victorian building, but the school also doubled as a large farm the kids were forced to work.


Day school survivors urged to mark June 21

Published: June 21, 2012 - Added: June 15, 2012 - Publication: Ottawa Citizen (Postmedia News)

Link http://www.canada.com/school+survivors+urged+mark+June/6786550/story.html

First Nations people who feel they have a claim for ill-treatment following their time at Indian Day Schools need to get together to organize a big day on Thursday, June 21 - Aboriginal Day, according to the lawyer who is fronting their lawsuit.

Manitoba lawyer Joan Jack sent out a call recently, explaining to band chiefs that lots of work has been done, but now it's time to raise the profile of the effort.

To date, organizers of the suit have made contact with thousands of day school survivors via telephone and Internet and continue to enter student names into a database.

As of March, the initial contact forms retaining the legal firm in relation to this class action have come in from students who attended 236 schools across Canada as follows: Alberta - 43 schools; British Columbia - 85 schools; Manitoba - 60 schools; NWT - four schools; Ontario - 39 schools; and Saskatchewan - 15 schools.


Cardinal Ouellet, representing Pope, meets with Irish abuse victims

Published: June 13, 2012 - Added: June 14, 2012 - Publication: The Catholic Register

Link http://www.catholicregister.org/news/international/item/14694-cardinal-ouellet-representing-pope-meets-with-irish-abuse-victims

Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, representing Pope Benedict XVI, met with Irish victims of church-related child abuse.

The cardinal, papal legate to the International Eucharistic Congress, met with the victims of institutional and clerical abuse during a pilgrimage to Lough Derg in Country Donegal June 12 and 13.

The cardinal spent about two hours meeting with victims on Station Island, then celebrated Mass in St. Patrick's Basilica, said a statement by the Catholic Communications Office.

During his homily, the cardinal told victims that the pope asked him to "come to Lough Derg and ask God's forgiveness for the times clerics have sexually abused children, not only in Ireland but anywhere in the church."


Ontario native class-action suit stays alive

Published: June 12, 2012 - Added: June 13, 2012 - Publication: Toronto Star

Link http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1210395--ontario-native-class-action-suit-stays-alive

Lawyers acting on behalf of aboriginal children who lost their families and culture during what’s known as the “Sixties Scoop” in Ontario have won the right to keep fighting for their class-action suit.

The multi-million-dollar suit was filed more than three years ago and already appears to mimic the residential schools class-action suit that dragged on in the courts for nine years before aboriginal plaintiffs finally won in 2005.

Marcia Brown, a key plaintiff in this Ontario suit, says she won’t give up. “The law process is slow but we will use this time to get the truth of the Sixties Scoop out to people locally, provincially and internationally,” she said, in a statement to the Star from Kirkland Lake.


Delmer Johnnie Selstze

Published: June 12, 2012 - Added: June 13, 2012 - Publication: Globe and Mail

Link http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/facts-and-arguments/delmar-johnnie-seletze/article4251459/

Artist, fisherman, residential-school survivor, family man. Born May 10, 1946, in Duncan, B.C., died Jan. 23, 2012, in Duncan from complications due to multi-system atrophy, aged 65.

   At a very young age, Delmar Johnnie Seletze was taken from his family and placed in the Kuper Island Indian Residential School near Chemainus, B.C. He was one of the first survivors to share his story publicly, and became a role model and mentor in the residential-school recovery movement.

   Delmar was fond of saying, "You know, I wasn't always the good person you see standing before you - it took a lot of work."

   He shared his residential-school story not only to help others find the courage to speak, but also to apologize to those he loved for the hurtful behaviours that came from the experience.

   The strength it took to transform to a kind and generous man was enormous, and Delmar consciously set out on a journey to create happiness in his life and the lives of those around him. When you were with him you felt like the most important person in the world.


MLAs mark anniversary of federal residential school apology

Published: June 12, 2012 - Added: June 13, 2012 - Publication: CJCD Mix 100

Link http://hqyellowknife.com/home/news/Local/12/06/12/MLAs-mark-anniversary-of-federal-residential-school-apology

June 11 was a solemn, yet celebratory anniversary for survivors of residential schools in Canada.

It marked the fourth anniversary of the federal government's apology to aboriginal people for the years of abuse and maltreatment they received from those who ran the program for decades.

The GNWT didn't let the anniversary go unnoticed either.

Several members stood to make statements on behalf of the government.


A Sad Chapter in Our History?

Published: June 11, 2012 - Added: June 12, 2012 - Publication: Vancouver Media Co-op

Link http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/story/sad-chapter-our-history/11290

Four years ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued an apology to former residential school students on behalf of all Canadians, referring to a “sad chapter in our history.” But for many residential school survivors, their descendants, and Indigenous communities, the apology did not mark the conclusion of some era in the distant past.

If Canadian history were a book, the “sad chapter” would be a long one. In fact, it would fill every single page except perhaps for an epilogue that is still being written.

For over 100 years, First Nations, Métis and Inuit students were sent to over 150 residential schools run by the federal government and various churches from coast to coast to northern coast. In many cases students were subject to years of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Separated from their families and communities, children were forbidden to speak their own languages, interact with siblings and other students of the opposite sex, and were told that their cultures were worthless and uncivilized.

“These were not side effects of a well-intentioned system: the purpose of the residential school system was to separate children from the influences of their parents and their community, so as to destroy their culture,” reads the introduction to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 2012 report They Came for the Children.


Stained glass residential school tribute unveiled

Published: June 11, 2012 - Added: June 12, 2012 - Publication: APTN National News

Link http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2012/06/11/stained-glass-residential-school-tribute-unveiled/

Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan unveiled a stained glass window in honour of residential school survivors Monday, marking the June 11, 2008, anniversary of the prime minister’s apology for one of the darkest periods in Canadian history.

The unveiling of the stained glass window, which was designed by Metis artist Christi Belcourt, comes as crisis swirls around the multibillion dollar residential school settlement that led to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apology.

The unveiling of the artwork, which will be installed on Parliament Hill’s Centre Block, above the entrance reserved for MPs, comes a week after a British Columbia judge barred a Calgary lawyer and his firm from handling any more residential school files, leaving thousands of claims in limbo.

The BC judge found that David Blott and his firm Blott & Company were using residential school settlements to enrich themselves by offering high interest loans to former students and doing little to help their clients through the process.

Evidence has since surfaced that suggests other lawyers handling residential school claims across the country may be engaging in similar tactics.

Duncan, however, dismissed concerns the Blott fiasco had tarnished the residential school settlement process.


Native patience runs thin four years after residential school apology

Published: June 11, 2012 - Added: June 12, 2012 - Publication: Globe and Mail

Link http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/native-patience-runs-thin-four-years-after-residential-school-apology/article4248862/

Four years after Stephen Harper offered an unfettered apology for residential schools, the Prime Minister is at a turning point in his relationship with aboriginal people, Shawn Atleo says.

Mr. Harper can either take major, collaborative action to erase the deep and lingering effects of a school system that separated 150,000 children from their families, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations said, or he can persist in chipping away at policy with small, unilateral measures and making grandiose promises that amount to little else besides more procedures.

“We’re faced with a real moment of reckoning here,” Mr. Atleo said in an interview on the fourth anniversary of the apology. “The rate and pace of change is too slow.”

On June 11, 2008, Mr. Harper stood in the House of Commons and delivered an emotional, historic speech that took full responsibility for government attempts to assimilate aboriginal children, causing great harm that has lasted for generations.


Le Chef national souligne l'anniversaire de la présentation des excuses aux survivants des pensionnats indiens en lançant un appel à l'action

Published: June 11, 2012 - Added: June 12, 2012 - Publication: Canada News Wire

Link http://www.newswire.ca/fr/story/990793/le-chef-national-souligne-l-anniversaire-de-la-presentation-des-excuses-aux-survivants-des-pensionnats-indiens-en-lancant-un-appel-a-l-action

À l'occasion du quatrième anniversaire de la présentation des excuses du gouvernement du Canada pour le système des pensionnats indiens, le Chef national de l'Assemblée des Premières Nations (APN) Shawn A-in-chut Atleo continue de lancer un appel à l'action afin de concrétiser les changements requis pour la réconciliation.

« Les excuses ont été faites à un moment très important pour l'ensemble du Canada et exigent un engagement indéniable à passer à l'action et à parvenir à une réconciliation », a affirmé le Chef national de l'Assemblée des Premières Nations (APN) Shawn A-in-chut Atleo. « Le temps est venu de passer à l'action pour faire respecter nos droits et de veiller à ce que l'enseignement fourni aux peuples des Premières Nations soit adapté à leur culture et à leur langue et d'une excellente qualité, et ce, pour tous nos élèves. Le fait que les Premières Nations font partie intégrante de l'histoire, de l'économie et de l'avenir du Canada doit être affirmé. »

Les excuses historiques aux survivants des pensionnats indiens ont été présentées à la Chambre des Communes le 11 juin 2008. Elles ont compris un engagement du Parlement et de tout le Canada à se joindre aux Premières Nations dans un processus de guérison et de réconciliation.


Four years after PM's apology, residential schools have lasting impact

Published: June 11, 2012 - Added: June 12, 2012 - Publication: Serpent River First Nation press release

Link http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/748604

Even four years after the Residential School apology that Prime Minister Harper made on this day in June of 2008, First Nations communities are still reeling from the impacts.

First Nations leaders are not satisfied with outcomes on reconciliation that the Progressive Conservative government has made since the apology. Many of those leaders continue to talk about the multi-dimensional impacts that this policy had imposed on the quality of life in First Nations across the country nearly a hundred years after some of these schools were instituted by Canada. And many of them are saying that the Harper government missed four years of being able to do much more.

Chief Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini, says that many of his First Nation citizens attended Residential School in Spanish and in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario. Some attended as far away as Kenora. "Whether or not First Nations children were placed locally or far away, the impacts were consistently the same - racial segregation, loss of language and all forms of abuse imposed," says Day. "Years of traumatic stress and effects of abuse shaped the social fabric of many of our communities. That often meant re-lived trauma and cycles of horrid abuse and family dysfunction."


Retired judge to oversee transfer of firm’s residential schools clients

Published: June 11, 2012 - Added: June 12, 2012 - Publication: Canadian Lawyer (Legal Feeds blog)

Link http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/legalfeeds/903/Retired-judge-to-oversee-transfer-of-firms-residential-schools-clients.html

The British Columbia Supreme Court has appointed a retired judge to oversee the transfer of residential schools victims to new lawyers following a highly critical review of Calgary firm Blott & Co.’s practices last week.

The job of distributing Blott & Co.’s clients to new counsel will fall to retired B.C. Supreme Court justice Ian Pitfield. He’ll have the task of setting up a program to “expeditiously transfer” the files to other qualified law firms after B.C. Supreme Court

Justice Brenda Brown banned lawyer David Blott and his firm from continuing to represent residential schools victims in the independent assessment process stemming from the residential schools settlement. In the meantime, other associated lawyers at Blott & Co. will be able to keep working on the files “if affiliated with another firm where supervision is available,” Brown ruled.


Government of Canada Marks Historic Apology to Former Indian Residential Schools Students

Published: June 11, 2012 - Added: June 12, 2012 - Publication: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development press release (Ref. #2-3666)

Link http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1339422983142

The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today unveiled artwork commemorating the legacy of former Indian Residential School students and their families. Métis artist Christi Belcourt's   artwork will be transformed into stained glass and installed in Centre Block on Parliament Hill.

"The Harper Government continues to take steps to promote reconciliation between Aboriginal people, their families and communities, and all Canadians," said Minister Duncan. "Four years ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Apology established the foundation for a new relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians: one that is based on mutual respect and a desire to move forward together in partnership."

Canada's commitment to reconciliation will be visible to all visitors to Parliament Hill. Through this artwork, they will experience Canada's commemoration of the families and communities of those who were profoundly affected by the schools' legacy.


Le gouvernement Harper souligne les séquelles laissées par les pensionnats indiens sur la Colline du Parlement

Published: June 11, 2012 - Added: June 12, 2012 - Publication: Communiqué des Affaires autochtones et du développement du Nord canadien (Ref. #2-3666)

Link http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/fra/1339422983142/1339423016517

L'honorable John Duncan, ministre des Affaires autochtones et du développement du Nord canadien, a dévoilé aujourd'hui l'œuvre qui commémorera les séquelles laissées par les pensionnats indiens sur les anciens élèves et leurs familles. L'artiste métisse Christi Belcourt's   (site Web non disponible en français) verra son œuvre transformée en vitrail qu'on installera dans l'édifice du Centre de la Colline du Parlement.

« Le gouvernement Harper continue de prendre des mesures afin de favoriser d'une part la réconciliation entre les Autochtones, leurs familles et leurs collectivités, et d'autre part, entre tous les Canadiens. Il y a quatre ans, les excuses présentées par le premier ministre ont établi les fondements d'une nouvelle relation entre les Canadiens d'origine autochtone et non autochtone. Cette relation est fondée sur le respect mutuel et le désir d'avancer en partenariat. »

L'engagement du Canada envers la réconciliation sera visible à tous les visiteurs de la Colline du Parlement. Grâce à cette œuvre, les visiteurs remarqueront les efforts de commémoration déployés par le Canada qui rend hommage aux familles et aux collectivités des personnes qui ont été profondément touchées par les séquelles des pensionnats.


Teens sign up to learn dying language

Published: June 12, 2012 - Added: June 12, 2012 - Publication: Victoria Times Colonist

Link http://www.timescolonist.com/life/Teens+sign+learn+dying+language/6768070/story.html

A few years ago, only a dozen people could speak Sencoten, the dangerously dwindling language spoken by the Wsanec people of the Saanich Peninsula.

Stelly's Secondary School is hoping the First Nations language will see a resurgence in September when the high school begins offering an elective class in Sencoten.

About 50 students have already signed up, mostly First Nations teens who are eager to preserve a part of their heritage that was stifled during the residentialschool era.

John Elliott, who teaches Sencoten at the Lau, welnew Tribal School, said language is a key part of the First Nations identity. For youth, he said, learning their language fosters a sense of pride in their heritage.

A 2010 report by the First People's Heritage, Language and Culture Council found that First Nations languages would be lost in the next six years if more isn't done to improve language education.

The number of people fluent in First Nations languages has dropped 95 per cent in the last 120 years, due to colonialism and residential schools, the report found.

There are 34 distinct languages and 59 dialects in B.C., but only five per cent of the First Nations population is fluent, and most of those are elderly.


Harper gov't not doing enough for rez school suvivors: Chief

Published: June 12, 2012 - Added: June 12, 2012 - Publication: Sudbury Star

Link http://www.thesudburystar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3583573

Four years after the residential school apology Prime Minister Stephen Harper made on June 11, 2008, First Nations communities are not satisfied with outcomes on reconciliation that the Progressive Conservative government has made since the apology.

Many First Nations leaders say the Harper government has missed four years of being able to do much more.

Chief Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini, says that many of his First Nation citizens attended residential school in Spanish and in Sault Ste. Marie.

"Whether or not First Nations children were placed locally or far away, the impacts were consistently the same -- racial segregation, loss of language and all forms of abuse imposed," says Day. "Years of traumatic stress and effects of abuse shaped the social fabric of many of our communities. That often meant relived trauma and cycles of horrid abuse and family dysfunction."

Day has encouraged other leaders and First Nations advocates to bring forward a discussion on behalf of survivors and their communities.


This week in religion history: Some apologies given and owed

Published: June 11, 2012 - Added: June 11, 2012 - Publication: National Post

Link http://life.nationalpost.com/2012/06/10/this-week-in-religion-history-some-apologies-given-and-owed/

June 11, 2008: Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered an apology in the House of Commons to former students of native residential schools for the sexual and physical abuse that occurred at the now-defunct network of federally financed, church-run residential schools that also wiped out aboriginal languages and culture in the name of assimilation. It was the first time a Canadian prime minister had formally apologized for the abuse of about 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Metis children who were removed from their communities throughout most of the last century and forced to attend residential schools.


National Chief Marks Anniversary of Residential Schools Apology with Call to action

Published: June 11, 2012 - Added: June 11, 2012 - Publication: Assembly of First Nations web site

Link http://www.afn.ca/index.php/en/news-media/latest-news/national-chief-marks-anniversary-of-residential-schools-apology-with-c

On the fourth anniversary of Parliament’s Apology for the Indian residential school system, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo continues his call for action now to achieve the change required for reconciliation.

“The apology was a critical moment for all of Canada and requires a full commitment to action and reconciliation,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo.  “Now is the time for action implementing our rights and ensuring First Nations education that is culturally and linguistically relevant and delivers excellence for all of our students.  The integral place of First Nations in Canada’s history, economy and future must be affirmed.”

The historic apology offered to residential school survivors took place in the House of Commons June 11, 2008.  It included a commitment by Parliament and all of Canada to join First Nations on a shared journey toward healing and reconciliation.
 


Schools' impact must be faced (Editorial)

Published: June 11, 2012 - Added: June 11, 2012 - Publication: Saskatoon Star Phoenix

Link http://www.thestarphoenix.com/opinion/Schools+impact+must+faced/6755781/story.html

It's a natural reaction for people to avert their eyes when confronted with others' painful memories.

But as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission moves through Saskatchewan collecting stories of residential school survivors, it is critically important we face the pain head on.

This week The StarPhoenix has been reporting on the commission's hearings from La Ronge. From June 21 to 24, it will be holding open meetings at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon. Organizers are expecting the hearings to draw as many as 20,000 to the hearings and related cultural events, including a powwow.

As national commissioner Marie Wilson pointed out, it will be a tough task ahead for those survivors with the courage to step forward with their stories. "It's extremely emotional and impossible to do it without shedding a tear," she said in a recent interview.

But it is only by facing our history that Canadians will ever be able to begin to address the social fallout from the failed assimilation strategy that marked relations with First Nations people. That fallout is particularly obvious in Saskatchewan, which had the largest per-capita residential school population in Canada.


Sorry isn't enough (Comment)

Published: June 11, 2012 - Added: June 11, 2012 - Publication: London Free Press

Link http://www.lfpress.com/comment/2012/06/08/19855881.html

It shouldn't be a surprise that deep wounds don't heal overnight It's been four years since Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized for the treatment of First Nations people and more than a century of an assimilation policy that profoundly damaged Aboriginal communities across the country.

The residual waves of our national shame -- the residential schools policy -- continue to ripple across Canada. Even when we don't want to see it.

As part of Harper's apology, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was set up and continues at its attempts to close the chasm between a wounded and untrusting Aboriginal population and a bewildered colonial community still resistant to accepting its role.

At the same time, the tragic cycle of poverty, abuse, neglect, inadequate housing, addiction and crime continues within and outside our First Nations communities.

The children and grandchildren of the residential school pupils remain disconnected from their culture and homes. Aboriginals make up 20% of our jail and prison populations. There are more children of First Nation background in foster care than there were at the height of the residential school programs.

School drop-out rates are as high as 70%. Living conditions on reserves are ranked by the United Nations at 74th in the world. More than 120 First Nations communities living without potable water.

This isn't something you can just get over. Sorry isn't enough.


This had to be done

Published: June 11, 2012 - Added: June 11, 2012 - Publication: London Free Press

Link http://www.lfpress.com/news/london/2012/06/11/19862046.html

Jesse French had his head down, running his hands through his brush-cut.

From the prisoner's box in a London courtroom, he listened to a replay of his broken life:

"That made me relive my whole life," French, 26, told Ontario Court Justice Ted McGrath in London's so-called Gladue court, a special court for First Nations offenders that began this year at the Middlesex courthouse.

In any regular criminal court, French would have been looking at jail time.

But his tragic background and native heritage entitle him to consideration under so-called Gladue principles, articulated by the Supreme Court of Canada.

French was sentenced to probation, with 50 hours of community service.

Such breaks are what Canada's highest court and First Nations have long wanted, since aboriginals make up 3% of Canada's population, but 20% of its jails and prisons.

But, 15 years after sentencing changes to the Criminal Code, and 13 years after Canada's highest court articulated the need for a different kind of justice for natives, the courts have lagged far behind -- with few or no resources to follow through.


TRC thanks chief coroners, chief medical examiners

Published: June 11, 2012 - Added: June 11, 2012 - Publication: Truth and Reconciliation Commission web site

Link http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=3

Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), expressed gratitude today to Canada’s provincial and territorial chief coroners and chief medical examiners for their unanimous commitment to support the Missing Children Project.

An unknown number of Aboriginal children in the care of government-funded, church-run Indian Residential Schools died or went missing during the 150 years in which the schools operated. The TRC established the Missing Children Project to examine the extent of these deaths and disappearances.
Read more


Aboriginal History Month on iChannel

Published: June 11, 2012 - Added: June 11, 2012 - Publication: iChannel

Link http://www.ichannel.ca/tag/residential-schools/

Healing the Generations. For more than a century, the Canadian government forcibly removed thousands of Aboriginal children from their families to be raised in church-run boarding schools, where many endured years of abuse. The Indian Residential School System was finally dismantled in 1996. Survivors have been compensated. But many of the 80,000 former students alive today say the trauma they suffered is now having a profound impact on their own children. As we approach June 11, the anniversary of the historic apology to Residential School Survivors, this episode looks at how a new generation of children have been affected, and how families are struggling to heal.


Young aboriginals conquer the odds

Published: June 11, 2012 - Added: June 11, 2012 - Publication: Vancouver Sun

Link http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Young+aboriginals+conquer+odds/6756860/story.html

A lone ceremonial drummer from the Squamish Nation named Latash Kinem banged his drum slowly Thursday night, leading 80 students into the annual ceremony staged by the Vancouver school board for its aboriginal graduates.

Latash Kinem strode to the podium at Templeton secondary and in his traditional language told the first nations graduates: "Seek your power. Find your gifts." Standing behind him were members of three generations of his own family, the large extended Nah-anee clan from the Squamish Nation, including his niece Senaqwila Wyss, one of two valedictorians at the Aboriginal Achievement Celebration.

After the graduates walked across the stage and received their awards, Senaqwila, whose given name means "sunlight dancing on the water," rose to speak for her class of 2012.

Senaqwila, 17, told the graduates that among her struggles in high school "math was definitely the absolute WORST!

"But hey, I've conquered that all the way to the Grade 12 level!"

What Senaqwila didn't tell her audience was that she is poised to become the first aboriginal student to graduate with Math 12 at Windemere.

The strong family support behind Senaqwila's achievements wouldn't come as any surprise to Don Fiddler, the VSB's district principal for aboriginal education.

"Families are the greatest determinant of success in school. That is the group that protects and socializes the student to be successful."

Unfortunately, added Fiddler, many aboriginal families in Vancouver are unable to pro-vide the stable support essential to academic progress.

Fiddler rattled off the barriers for Vancouver-area students: some of the worst urban poverty in the nation, family dysfunction, alcoholism and drug addiction, and a distrust of school shaped by the sorrowful history of Indian residential schools.


It seems that the Conservatives just can't win on the Aboriginal file (Editorial)

Published: June 11, 2012 - Added: June 11, 2012 - Publication: Net News

Link http://netnewsledger.com/2012/06/09/it-seems-that-the-conservatives-just-cant-win-on-the-aboriginal-file/

It seems that the Conservatives just can’t win. When it comes to working with First Nations, the Conservatives have, in many ways, put action to long standing verbal and written promises left over from the Liberals who preceded them in office. Yet once again they are mired in anger and frustration from First Nations leaders. Comments made by Industry Minister Tony Clement in Thunder Bay have poured gasoline on a fire that should never have been lit in the first place.

When it comes to real action, the Conservatives likely can claim more than the previous Liberal government in First Nations communities.

However they are reaping a harvest of scorn and anger for their efforts. That is likely more a result of not communicating well with the wider audience of First Nations members or with their leadership.

The Conservatives would say it was Prime Minister Stephen Harper who issued an apology over the Residential Schools issue. The Liberals never did. It was perhaps Jack Layton’s finest hour in the minority parliament, but the former NDP leader and the Prime Minister were able to work together to make that apology happen.

Bluntly, it was a moment in a very partisan parliament where almost every member, save Pierre Poilievre an Ottawa MP who declared basically that Aboriginals should “engender the values of hard work and independence and self reliance”, rather than need compensation for the horrors inflicted on them in the residential schools were united in a cause. It was a positive moment that should have helped re-set the relationship.

Poilievre quickly apologized but the damage was already done. Words are a powerful weapon when used as swords.


SENĆOŦEN course taught at Stelly's school

Published: June 11, 2012 - Added: June 11, 2012 - Publication: Peninsulanewsreview.com

Link http://www.peninsulanewsreview.com/news/158364625.html

Come fall, students can study SENĆOŦEN at Stelly’s secondary school.

It follows the lead of the LÁU,WELNEW Tribal School and W̱SÁNEĆ school board.

Last week, all students at the high school got a taste of what that might mean to aboriginal students.

The library was set up for the week as a learning centre with five stations to help educate students on the residential school system in the province and First Nations culture in general.

“It’s significant that we remind our kids in the community about the First Nations teachings in the community,” said principal Peter Westhaver. The exercise was created after a team of students attended the Truth and Reconciliation hearings in Victoria. There they heard from those who experienced residential schools first hand.


Remembering the 154 Students Who Did Not Survive the Mt. Pleasant Boarding School

Published: June 09, 2012 - Added: June 11, 2012 - Publication: Native News Network

Link http://www.nativenewsnetwork.com/remembering-the-154-students-who-did-not-survive-the-mt-pleasant-boarding-school.html

During the time the Mt. Pleasant Indian Industrial School existed there were 154 known deaths that occurred while students attended.

The cause of death of the students has been attributed to diseases.

Throughout day-long "Honoring, Healing and Remembering" event held on the grounds of the closed down Mt. Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School, there were several references to the 154 who died here.


Healing the Scars of the Mt. Pleasant Boarding School: We Knew Bad Things Happened Here

Published: June 07, 2012 - Added: June 11, 2012 - Publication: Native News Network

Link http://www.nativenewsnetwork.com/healing-the-scars-of-the-mt-pleasant-boarding-school-we-knew-bad-things-happened-here.html

Experts believe that one of the single most federal American Indian policies that impact lives of American Indians today was the policy that created the boarding schools. Dr. Suzanne Cross, Saginaw Chippewa, associate professor of social work at Michigan State University, is one such expert. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on historical trauma associated with boarding schools. Dr. Cross was one of the speakers who spoke at yesterday's event.

Wounds take time to heal. Even when wounds heal, scars remain.

Even though the Mt. Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School closed decades ago in 1934, the scars remain.

Historical trauma is passed down from one generation to the next.

So, it was only appropriate for those gathered in this college town located in central Michigan at the grounds of the Mt. Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School for the "Honoring, Healing & Remembering" to come with together as a means to heal from the scars of the boarding school experience.


Thousands of residential school claims in limbo after BC judge boots law firm

Published: June 07, 2012 - Added: June 08, 2012 - Publication: APTN National News

Link http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2012/06/07/thousands-of-residential-school-claims-in-limbo-after-bc-judge-boots-law-firm/

In a major development, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled this week that the Blott and Company law firm and its associates exploited thousands of vulnerable survivors of residential schools as part of a scheme to maximize their profits.

The IAP, or independent assessment process, compensation for the worst abuses of residential schools became a cash cow for the law firm, according to the judge.

APTN National News reporter Noemi LoPinto has the details from Edmonton.  (This is the introduction for a video report.)


The Forgiveness Fallacy: Standing by our Painful Truth; An Introduction to Aletheia Therapy

Published: June 07, 2012 - Added: June 08, 2012 - Publication: Salem-News.com

Link http://www.salem-news.com/articles/june072012/forgiveness-fallacy-ka.php

Harry Wilson is still alive, somehow. He is homeless, starving, plagued by alcoholism and drug addiction, and regularly beaten and robbed on Vancouver’s meanest streets. Yet neither his present suffering, nor his childhood rape and torture by a United Church clergyman with an electric cattle prod, has caused him to collapse, as it has most of his fellow survivors from the death camps called Canadian Indian Residential Schools.

Very few of these others have ever found their voice, but Harry has: and when he speaks of his life, he always ends by saying the same thing:

“I’ll never forgive those bastards for what they did to me.”

Harry Wilson proves to me something I have observed over many years as a street counselor and practicing clergyman: that the people who endure torture with a semblance of self-respect are those who have never forgiven what was done to them, especially as a child.


Pickering students learn about native residential schools

Published: June 08, 2012 - Added: June 08, 2012 - Publication: durhamregion.com

Link http://www.durhamregion.com/news/article/1369130--pickering-students-learn-about-native-residential-schools

Emotions were high as Pickering students received a first-hand lesson in the horrors of native residential schools from a former student.

Native elder Cliff Standingready visited St. Mary Catholic High School to speak to students about his experience at residential schools as part of Project of Heart, which raises awareness about the Canadian Indian residential school system created by the Department of Indian Affairs to assimilate Canada's aboriginal population. The last residential school was closed in 1996.

"It's shocking that these residential schools were still operating in our lifetime, in Canada, and not many people knew about them," said Mr. Standingready, who attended residential schools from age three to 11.


Priest apologizes after hearing stories

Published: June 08, 2012 - Added: June 08, 2012 - Publication: Saskatoon Star Phoenix

Link http://www.thestarphoenix.com/life/Priest+apologizes+after+hearing+stories/6749114/story.html

As Roman Catholic priest Rev. Mark Blom sat in the audience listening to three days of graphic testimony from residential school survivors, he felt compelled to speak.

Blom rose from his seat and like the others, gathered the smoke from the burning sweetgrass placed in front of him as part of the smudging ceremony. He walked to the microphone and began his testimony before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Blom explained that he did not work at any residential schools, but many members of his Oblate order did.

"As one of their ancestors, I just want to say today that from my heart I am sorry and I regret what happened to individuals and you as a people in these schools," said Blom, whose parishes include La Ronge and other remote northern communities.

"I am here to pay full attention to your stories and listen to you."


Firm banned from representing survivors

Published: June 07, 2012 - Added: June 07, 2012 - Publication: Vancouver Sun

Link http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Calgary+firm+banned+from+representing+survivors/6742221/story.html

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled a Calgary law firm can no longer represent Indian residential school survivors under Canada’s process to compensate them for past sexual and physical abuse, suggesting the firm was in it for the money.

Blott and Company, a small firm that had 20 lawyers working only on Indian residential school cases, stood to make millions of dollars from the federal government and had more than 5,600 clients seeking redress through the Independent Assessment Process (IAP).


Alta law firm banned from representing school victims

Published: June 07, 2012 - Added: June 07, 2012 - Publication: Vancouver Province

Link http://www.theprovince.com/news/Alta+firm+banned+from+representing+school+victims/6743586/story.html

A B.C. judge has banned an Alberta law firm from further representing residential-school victims who it charged "criminal" interest rates on loans, pending receipt of government compensation.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Brenda Brown has also ordered that a former Supreme Court judge be appointed to process the "orderly transfer" of residential-school files from Calgary-based Blott and Co. to new lawyers.

In a 46-page ruling released Wednesday, the judge concluded that Blott did not recognize either the impropriety or the harm caused by its conduct.

Brown said the firm's principal, David Blott, and his associates had failed to recognize their duties to their clients and the particular vulnerability of the claimants.


Residential Schools Centre Gets New Director

Published: June 06, 2012 - Added: June 07, 2012 - Publication: Local 2

Link http://local2.ca/ssm/viewarticle.php?id=6162

Algoma University has announced the appointment of Jonathan Dewar as Director of the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre and Special Advisor to the President for the Residential School Legacy.

"We are very fortunate to bring someone so accomplished in the field of Aboriginal Affairs to the Residential Schools Centre, and to Algoma University," said President Dr. Richard Myers. "It is a testament to the strength of the Centre that Jonathan would be interested in coming here to continue the important work he has undertaken throughout his career."
 


Survivors share their stories

Published: June 07, 2012 - Added: June 07, 2012 - Publication: Saskatoon Star Phoenix

Link http://www.thestarphoenix.com/Survivors+share+their+stories/6742920/story.html

Annie Ballantyne remembers the police officers taking her from her home at age five to attend a residential school in La Ronge.

"I was snatched from Grandpa. He resisted the RCMP but they were too strong for him," the elderly Ballantyne recalled during her emotional testimony Wednesday at a Truth and Reconciliation community hearing in La Ronge.

During her testimony at the Lac La Ronge Indian Band's Jonas Roberts Memorial Community Centre, Ballantyne cradled her head in her left hand, wiping away tears with her right. It would be six years before she returned home and the loneliness was unbearable.

"I've been keeping this for all these years. I'm going to be happy now," Ballantyne said.


Despite a record for brutal violence, killer gets a break

Published: June 06, 2012 - Added: June 06, 2012 - Publication: Vancouver Sun

Link http://www.vancouversun.com/Despite+record+brutal+violence+killer+gets+break/6737516/story.html

A just-completed dangerous offender hearing in Victoria encapsulates what the public finds frustrating about the legal system - a glacial pace and befuddling outcome.

Nearly four years to process a man who pleaded guilty after he was caught at the scene and on camera stomping a man to death over a bag of potato chips?

There was an agreed statement of facts - chronic offender Matthew Scott Pelkey, now 29, savagely beat 42-year-old San-jay Ablak to death in the middle of a downtown street at about 2: 20 a.m. on Dec. 8, 2008.

Reared on the Tsawout First Nation reserve near Victoria, Pelkey was of first nations descent and "the output of the history of colonialism, displacement and residential schools -" The judge said that those who believe this approach gives first nations "a race-based discount" on sentencing are wrong and should read the high court's reasoning in two rulings, R. v. Gladue (1999) and R. v. Ipeelee (2010).

In his opinion, Macaulay added, Pelkey was ready to turn his life around and deserved another chance.

Too bad the evidence to support that optimism seems threadbare.


Saskatchewan Regional Hearings: La Ronge

Published: June 05, 2012 - Added: June 06, 2012 - Publication: Truth and Reconciliation Commission web site

Link http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=3

Regional Hearings continue in Saskatchewan as we move toward the Saskatchewan National Event (SNE) in June. On June 5, 6 and 7, the TRC will be in La Ronge to hear from Survivors, both direct and intergenerational, and other community members as they share their experiences with Residential School and its legacy.

All members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend or watch the live webcast and bear witness to the truth being shared.

For more details on the La Ronge Hearing, please click here.


Law firm banned from residential school dealings

Published: June 06, 2012 - Added: June 06, 2012 - Publication: Lethbridge Herald

Link http://www.lethbridgeherald.com/local-news/law-firm-banned-from-residential-school-dealings-6612.html

A Calgary law firm accused of misconduct is now forbidden from representing any residential school survivors, according to a B.C. Supreme Court ruling handed down Tuesday.

Supreme Court Judge Brenda J. Brown issued her decision after a $3-million, court-ordered investigation began last fall into allegations the firm, Blott & Company, exploited more than 4,000 residential school survivor claimants, many of them from southern Alberta, who sought compensation under the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) for physical and sexual abuse endured at residential schools across Canada.


Judge punishes lawyer for loan scheme targeting residential school survivors

Published: June 06, 2012 - Added: June 06, 2012 - Publication: APTN National News

Link http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2012/06/06/judge-punishes-lawyer-for-loan-scheme-targeting-residential-school-survivors/

A Vancouver judge has kicked a Calgary lawyer out of the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) based on the allegations made by investigators.

Justice Brenda Brown released her 59-page written decision late this afternoon: David Blott and Tom Denomme of Honour Walk are barred from any further participation in the IAP.

The judge accepted the findings of investigators from Crawford Class Action Services as completely credible. The Crawford report on its four-month, $3-million investigation was 7,496 pages long, consisting of an executive summary and more than 7,400 pages of exhibits.

“I have concluded that an order must go prohibiting the further involvement of Blott & Company, David Blott, Honour Walk, Thomas Denomme and certain other parties in IAP proceedings. This order will be subject to conditions to alleviate the impact on the clients of Blott & Company as much as possible,” the judge wrote.


Residential schools are relevant to all Canadians

Published: June 05, 2012 - Added: June 05, 2012 - Publication: The Catholic Register

Link http://www.catholicregister.org/component/k2/item/14635-residential-schools-are-relevant-to-all-canadians

“Canadians from before have done a great disservice to Canadians who are new by not telling the story, the true story of this country,” said Estella Muyinda.

Muyinda was born in Uganda. Today she is a lawyer and just as thoroughly Canadian as everybody else in line at Tim Horton’s — and more than some. She’s spent time in Inuvik and Tuktoyuktuk in the Northwest Territories. In travelling the country she has learned about the first of Canada’s three founding nations.

At The Meeting Place, a May 31 to June 1 community-organized event for Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Muyinda was there to learn more. She wants a complete picture of how the colonial project that built one of the wealthiest and most progressive democracies in the world also crushed cultures, languages, families and individuals — and ironically used Christian Churches and a school system to do it.

Three years into the TRC’s five-year mandate, the commissioners worry about how the history of residential schools will ever reach new Canadians crowded into the country’s largest cities. Why would these people feel they have to take responsibility for attempted cultural genocide committed before they ever reached Canada? Particularly when their third-, fourth- and fifth-generation neighbours are paying the issue no attention at all?


Judge reserves decision in law firm’s survivor dealings

Published: June 05, 2012 - Added: June 05, 2012 - Publication: Windspeaker (Volume 30, Issue 3, Year 2012)

Link http://www.ammsa.com/publications/windspeaker/judge-reserves-decision-law-firm%E2%80%99s-survivor-dealings

As residential school survivors represented by a Calgary law firm wait for a judge’s decision, Chief Adjudicator Daniel Ish is trying to put their minds at ease.

“They shouldn’t be panicking …there’s a number of well-meaning parties overseeing this to make sure the right thing gets done,” he said.

A five-and-a-half-day hearing concluded May 11 with BC Supreme Court Justice Brenda Brown reserving her judgement on allegations that Blott and Company took financial advantage of clients they were representing in the Independent Assessment Process and that the law firm was providing poor representation.

Concerns regarding Blott and Company’s practice came to light last November when the court appointed Crawford-Class Action Services to conduct an audit of claims by IAP clients, who applied for compensation through the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement.  Crawford’s investigation took three months.

While Crawford was reviewing Blott’s actions, Ish was ordered by the court to monitor the IAP hearings in which Blott represented clients. Ish said he provided his adjudicators with a list of points to take note of during the hearings and then presented a monthly report to the judge. Ish would not comment on the content of his reports.


Bill overhauls Indian Act

Published: June 05, 2012 - Added: June 05, 2012 - Publication: Winnipeg Free Press

Link http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/bill-overhauls-indian-act-157180995.html

A Conservative backbencher from Saskatchewan introduced a bill Monday that could eventually replace the Indian Act.

Rob Clarke, MP for Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River, introduced a private member's bill that would delete all references in the act to residential schools and repeal or amend certain sections dealing with wills, education and band bylaws. It will also require the minister of aboriginal affairs to report every year what work he has undertaken to replace the Indian Act with new legislation.

The Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act won't be debated until at least the fall.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan said through a spokesman Monday the government recognizes it's time to make changes to the Indian Act but did not say whether he supports Clarke's bill. Instead, the spokesman pointed to bills Duncan introduced that would make major changes to how First Nations elections are conducted and force more public dissemination of band finances.

At the Crown-First Nations gathering in Ottawa in January, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said it is true the Indian Act leads to outcomes "we all deplore," but it wasn't smart to simply throw out the act.

"After 136 years, that tree has deep roots. Blowing up the stump would just leave a big hole," he said in January.


Tory MP’s bill to repeal Indian Act finds few takers in Saskatchewan

Published: June 05, 2012 - Added: June 05, 2012 - Publication: APTN National News

Link http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2012/06/05/tory-mps-bill-to-repeal-indian-act-finds-few-takers-in-saskatchewan/

MP Rob Clarke’s home province of Saskatchewan isn’t reacting well to his private members’ bill to repeal the Indian Act.

APTN National News reporter Larissa Burnouf has this story.  (This text introduces a video report.)


Art is part of the healing for residential school survivors

Published: June 05, 2012 - Added: June 05, 2012 - Publication: The Catholic Registrar

Link http://www.catholicregister.org/component/k2/item/14634-art-is-part-of-the-healing-for-residential-school-survivors

While residential school survivors told their life stories of trying to piece together family life after childhoods spent in an institution, Hilton Henhawk held a brush above canvass.

As an artist trained at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto and an elder in his own right, Henhawk was seeking a picture of native culture and identity that transcends the residential school experience without forgetting the harm his people have suffered.

"It's got to be representative of the native as a whole," Henhawk told The Catholic Register as he began to paint an ideal chief — a leader who could embody the spirit of his people.

Henhawk was one of a stream of volunteer artists who over the course of the weekend Meeting Place event contributed to a painted teepee. The teepee will  eventually be donated to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's permanent archive.

For Henhawk the continuing creative output of young people is as important to Canada's reconciliation with its past as is carefully preserved memories of a cultural genocide.

"With this you can converse," he said as he painted.


Leadership (Letter to the Editor)

Published: June 05, 2012 - Added: June 05, 2012 - Publication: Calgary Herald

Link http://www.calgaryherald.com/opinion/letters/Leadership/6730497/story.html

Re: "Why I won't be the Assembly of First Nations' new chief," Richard Wag-amese, Opinion, June 3.

Richard Wagamese is correct that he would need 15 chiefs' signatures to be nominated out of over 600 chiefs. This is easily achievable by regular mail since many chiefs would sign his nomination papers in support of the process, not necessarily in sole support of him.

The assembly is open and democratic; therefore, at least 15 chiefs would sign simply to facilitate the chiefs in the assembly to have a choice and for Wag-amese's voice as a First Nation citizen to be heard.

With regard to expenses, it isn't essential that he travel. Modern communications, including social media, would allow Wag-amese to promote his plat-form at very little cost. He only assumes his proposed platform would not appeal to the chiefs. However, the chiefs also consider character - if one does not believe fervently enough in one's own platform to take the steps to be nominated and run, then how does one expect the chiefs to take him seriously or put their confidence in him to lead their organization when the obstacles are often more daunting than simply get-ting elected national chief?

Others have persevered. Former national chief Phil Fontaine negotiated an apology from the government of Canada, from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and before that, he negotiated compensation for the survivors of residential schools. The only obstacle hampering Wag-amese is his lack of resolve. This is not a characteristic of a leader.

Robin Wortman, Calgary Robin Wortman was an adviser to former national chief Phil Fontaine.


Conservative MP tables bill to repeal sections of the Indian Act

Published: June 04, 2012 - Added: June 05, 2012 - Publication: APTN National News

Link http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2012/06/04/conservative-mp-tables-bill-to-repeal-sections-of-the-indian-act/

Saskatchewan Conservative MP Rob Clarke introduced a private member’s bill Monday that, if passed, would increase the power of bands to pass bylaws, repeal sections of the Indian Act dealing with residential schools, the governing of wills and that barred First Nations in the prairies from freely selling agricultural products.

Bill C-428, also known as Act to Amend the Indian Act and To Provide for its Replacement, would also require the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs to report yearly on efforts to replace sections of the Indian Act with modern amendments or legislation.

“What …I am trying to do is make a difference for First Nations and repeal the Indian Act (and) start the debate and the process,” said Clarke.

Clarke’s legislation would repeal portions of the Indian Act allowing–as in the era of residential schools–churches to operate schools for on-reserve First Nations children and authorizes the RCMP, special constables or other officials to act as “truant” officers to hunt down children who failed to attend school.

The proposed bill would also erase the words “residential school” from the section defining how the word “school” applies in the Indian Act.


Why aren't First Nations kids in school?

Published: June 03, 2012 - Added: June 04, 2012 - Publication: Calgary Herald

Link http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/aren+First+Nations+kids+school/6714904/story.html

They are the ghost children of the reserves.

You won’t find them waiting for the school bus. You can’t photograph their grinning faces on the swings at recess. Their names aren’t checked off on the attendance records. Often their names aren’t listed at all.

The federal government records the birth and death of every status Indian, keeping a tally of school-age children, four to 21. Officials also record every child going to school on reserve or in surrounding municipalities. But analyze the best available numbers for Alberta reserves and you’ll find there are more than 11,000 children and young adults missing.

That’s an uneducated and marginalized population, and it’s growing into a problem that will come back to haunt us, warn educators and community leaders.

Principal Vic Dikaitis said the legacy of residential schools still has an impact. Children lost their language and came back hurting. Those memories, spread by word of mouth, lead to distrust of the school system.

You can’t force suspicious parents to send a child to school or you risk driving them further away, Dikaitis said. “You strongly encourage, you try to convince.

“Asking why kids don’t go to school is not as important as asking how can you get them back to school. These kids are bright. If the kids would come on a regular basis, our problems would disappear.”


Coroner offers reconciliation gesture for victims of residential schools

Published: June 01, 2012 - Added: June 04, 2012 - Publication: Winnipeg Free Press

Link http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/coroner-offers-reconciliation-gesture-for-victims-of-residential-schools-156388025.html

Ontario's chief coroner handed over a gift of a small wooden turtle Friday in a gesture of reconciliation aimed at the victims of the notorious Indian residential school system.

Dr. Andrew McCallum told "The Meeting Place" — a two-day conference in support of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission — that he hoped the gesture would help see "spirits replenished."

"By this gift, we acknowledge the troubled past we share and express our hope for the better future that we are working to build," McCallum told the gathering.

"I hope that through the Truth and Reconciliation process, you are able to gain peace of mind and find forgiveness in your hearts."

Scores of First Nations people from across the country were attending the two-day event, which included displays devoted to the residential schools.


Bridges of tears

Published: June 04, 2012 - Added: June 04, 2012 - Publication: United Church Observer

Link http://www.ucobserver.org/columns/observations/2012/06/bridges_tears/

The opening ceremonies at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s regional event in Victoria this spring were winding down when commissioner Marie Wilson made her way to the podium. Pointing to the boxes of tissues placed on tables in the sunlit assembly hall, she told 2,000 residential school survivors, family members and supporters, “This is a tear-friendly gathering.”

Emotions were laid bare and tears flowed openly for the next two days as survivors told their stories of being physically, sexually and psychologically abused at five Vancouver Island schools for First Nations children owned by the federal government and run by Canada’s mainline churches. Stewards patrolled the aisles of the meeting rooms, offering tissues and comfort to Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals who were overwhelmed by what they were hearing. Tear-soaked tissues were collected in paper bags that were later burned in a sacred fire.

The Victoria event — one of a series of regional gatherings that complement the commission’s big national events — held special significance for The United Church of Canada. From 1891 to 1973, the United Church and its predecessors ran the Alberni Indian Residential School in Port Alberni, B.C., a three-hour drive north of Victoria. A lawsuit launched in the mid-1990s by former students who were sexually abused at Alberni opened the door to thousands of other lawsuits from residential school survivors across Canada. Those, in turn, led to the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, which created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission now charged with informing Canadians about what really happened at residential schools.


TRC in penny-pinching mode in final years of mandate

Published: 6-, 0940 - Added: June 04, 2012 - Publication: Windspeaker (Volume 30, Issue 3, Year 2012)

Link http://www.ammsa.com/publications/windspeaker/trc-penny-pinching-mode-final-years-mandate

Unless the Harper government comes up with more funding, the downsizing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will be felt by Indian residential school survivors.

“We’re going to have less staff and just the same amount of work we’re going to have to do. I’m concerned it will impact survivors,” said Kimberly Murray, executive director with the TRC. “There are high expectations in the survivor community and we have limited resources.”

While the mandate for the TRC was extended one year in order to compensate for time lost when the original TRC members resigned, additional dollars have not been provided. The initial TRC spent about $2 million of the $60 million budget that was established through the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement.


TRC Commission brings Native issues to heart in Toronto

Published: June 01, 2012 - Added: June 04, 2012 - Publication: The Catholic Register

Link http://www.catholicregister.org/news/toronto-gta/item/14618-trc-commission-brings-native-issues-to-heart-of-toronto

The bitter history of Canada's attempt to wipe out aboriginal culture through a system of Church-run schools has come to Canada's largest and most invisible Native community — and it's biggest city.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is meeting with 600 delegates, including about 100 residential school survivors, in downtown Toronto at a May 31 to June 2 community-organized event called The Meeting Place, a name that freely translates the Mohawk word ktaronto, which eventually became the name of the city. There are about 80,000 aboriginal Canadians — Metis, Indian and Inuit — living in Toronto.


Coroner investigates deaths of missing residential school children

Published: June 01, 2012 - Added: June 04, 2012 - Publication: Anglican Journal

Link http://www.anglicanjournal.com/nc/other/news-items/c/sliders/article/coroner-investigates-deaths-of-missing-residential-school-children-10864//abp/141.html

Ontario’s chief coroner, Dr. Andrew McCallum, said his office has been “making good progress” in helping to identify missing children linked to the Indian residential school system.

McCallum said his office has sifted through about 250,000 death records dating back to the 19th century and is now undertaking a “detailed review” of about 5,000 cases.

McCallum spoke at “The Meeting Place: Truth and Reconciliation,” a three-day conference organized in Toronto by Council Fire First Native Cultural Centre and supported by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).

McCallum has told The Canadian Press that the Office of the Chief Coroner has found about 120 possible cases of previously unidentified deaths among aboriginal children and youth who may have attended residential schools.

The TRC has requested the coroner's office to help identify the “hundreds, if not thousands” of indigenous children who went to residential schools and never made it back home. Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the TRC, has said that many parents who lost their children to these schools were never told of the deaths.

“We hope to find answers to their tragic deaths,” McCallum told the conference, adding that while this would bring “little solace” to families, this was nonetheless “a purposeful part of the journey” toward healing.


Sacred Circle to be held in East Selkirk

Published: June 01, 2012 - Added: June 04, 2012 - Publication: Selkirk Journal

Link http://www.selkirkjournal.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3575960

In aiding in the journey to healing and reconciliation, Rupert’s Land Sacred Circle will be hosting a homecoming called ‘Lighting the Home Fires’ at St. Peter Anglican Church in Dynevor East Selkirk June 15-16.

Murray Still, co-planner of the event, explained the Sacred Circle is gathering for people of all-ages who come together to work on a specific issue of a sacred nature.

“In our case we have convened this gathering, which is sacred, to work on healing and reconciliation particularly for survivors of residential schools and other issues related to colonization,” explained Still.

The event itself will feature a Gospel Jamboree June 15 where there will be country western gospel themed music. Still explained people are encouraged to bring their instruments and will have the opportunity to play one or two numbers. Also, bannock and tea will be served, as well as a reading from the Bible.


Killer sent to prison for 10 years

Published: June 02, 2012 - Added: June 04, 2012 - Publication: Victoria Times Colonist

Link http://www.timescolonist.com/news/Killer+sent+prison+years/6719774/story.html

Matthew Scott Pelkey was declared a dangerous offender and sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday after his conviction for manslaughter in the beating death of Sanjay Ablak outside Streetlink Emergency Shelter 3 1 ago. /2 years

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Malcolm Macaulay did not impose an indeterminate sentence on the 29-year-old aboriginal.

After his release from prison, Pelkey will be placed on a 10-year long-term supervision order.

"Matt now has another chance," said his defence lawyer Jim Heller. "Justice Macaulay has given full weight to Matt's aboriginal background. The upshot is Matt could have been given a life sentence, essentially, and now he's been given a fixed sentence. He's going to be in the community and he's going to get a chance to really prove himself."

A Gladue report shows Pelkey's history is marked by systemic and personal abuse. The reserve he grew up on suffers from poverty, poor housing, unemployment, limited education and survivors of the school system, Macaulay noted.

Pelkey left the reserve in his teens to live on the streets of Victoria. Alcohol has been the most significant contributing factor to his offences throughout his life.


Indian Residential Schools through a Fictional Lens

Published: June 01, 2012 - Added: June 04, 2012 - Publication: Saskatoon Public Library web site

Link http://www.saskatoonlibrary.ca/node/1032

In late June 2012, Saskatoon is hosting the last National Event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools.  To honour the stories of residential school experiences to be shared this month, we're highlighting some of the novels and plays about residential schools in our libraries.   Many are based on true events.


Blott investigators make serious allegations

Published: June 04, 2012 - Added: June 04, 2012 - Publication: APTN National News

Link http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2012/06/04/blott-investigators-make-serious-allegations/

After six days of hearings in Vancouver Supreme Court, the decision on what to do with Calgary law firm Blott & Company now rests in the hands of Justice Brenda Brown, one of nine judges across the country who oversee the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

In the meantime, thousands of former residential school students are waiting to find out what will happen with their Independent Assessment Process (IAP) claims for compensation for physical and/or sexual abuse they suffered in the schools as children.

The judge ordered an investigation into Blott & Company on Nov. 10, 2011 after complaints were filed by four of the law firm’s clients.

Starting April 30, Crawford Class Action Services, the Ontario-based firm that monitors the IAP on behalf of the court, presented the findings of its four-month, $3 million investigation in court.

Crawford employed former police detectives, lawyers and forensic accountants to go through the material that was obtained during the investigation.

APTN National News and Current Affairs was provided with a copy of the report to the court submitted by Michael Mooney, the vice president of Crawford.

The 51-page report expands on the results of the APTN Investigates report first broadcast last November. It contains allegations that have not been proven in court. Justice Brown is now assessing the court monitor’s submissions and other testimony. She did not say when she will render her final decision.


Indian Residential Schools Settlement Update for May 30, 2012

Published: May 30, 2012 - Added: June 01, 2012 - Publication: NationTalk.ca

Link http://www.nationtalk.ca/modules/news/article.php?storyid=54413

Update for May 30, 2012:

The Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat has posted updated statistics including details such as the amount of claims received and total compensation distributed from September 19, 2007 to May 1, 2012:

Total number of claims received as of May 1, 2012: 26,166
Total number of claims In Progress: 12,865
Total number of claims Withdrawn and/or Ineligible: 2,378
Total number of ADR/IAP Settled and Decisions Rendered: 13,039
Total Compensation as of May 1, 2012: $1,519,000,000

 The update can be viewed at www.iap-pei.ca.

The next status update will be available on June 6, 2012.


Three years for stabbing

Published: June 01, 2012 - Added: June 01, 2012 - Publication: Winnipeg Sun

Link http://www.winnipegsun.com/2012/05/31/three-years-for-stabbing

A Winnipeg teen has been sentenced to three years in jail for a night of violence that ended with a 14-year-old boy suffering nine stab wounds to his body.

“If you don’t change, you will be dead in time, I have no doubt,” Judge Lynn Stannard told the 17-year-old accused.

Court heard the youth comes from a family with a background of residential school abuse. The youth has a “significant substance abuse problem” that has already left him with ulcers and permanent liver damage.

“He is a very damaged individual,” said defence lawyer Chris Sigurdson.

With credit for time served, the youth has two years remaining on his sentence, one third of which must be served under community supervision.


Residential schools subject of powerful book

Published: June 01, 2012 - Added: June 01, 2012 - Publication: Kingston This Week

Link http://www.kingstonthisweek.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3574781

A local author has written a book about the tragedy of Indian Residential Schools, which saw more than 150,000 First Nations children taken from their families between 1883 and 1996.

“I think that I was fated to the task from early childhood,” said Bob Wells, author of Wawahte. “I grew up in remote Northwestern Ontario, at the time in our history when many people lived as ‘we’ and ‘them.’ As a child, it did not seem fair to me that my friends were being treated differently than I was.”

The book is written in two parts. The first part tells readers about the experiences of three children who attended residential schools. Through the eyes of Esther Faries, Bunny Galvin and Stanley Stephens, readers travel back to a time of forced assimilation.

The second part of the book provides a detailed historical description on how and why residential schools came to be.

“Writing and promoting Wawahte has been a great adventure, because the book is different than most, as it not only tells personal experiences, but it also gives the history,” said Wells.

Wells said Wawahte was written to help all Canadians to better comprehend this dark chapter of history.


Aboriginal youth involved in TRC

Published: May 30, 2012 - Added: June 01, 2012 - Publication: The B.C. Catholic

Link http://bcc.rcav.org/canadian/1697-aboriginal-youth-involved-in-trc

On May 17 at Riverside School in Prince Albert, some 260 Grade 7 students from Saskatchewan Rivers School Division gathered for an Education Day. These students will be attending the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Summit June 22 in Saskatoon. In preparation for this event, these students were given information on the whole TRC process and its findings.

Mona Markwart, principal of Riverside School, stated that students need to know their history about treaties -- what they say and what they don't say. The Minister of Education has set up a study of awareness about treaties and their impact. She added, "These students will be in a better position to take responsibility of their lives if they know their history. This will enable government and agencies to address the changes needed."

"Students need a greater understanding of their background and openness to both sides of the issue in order to heal and to move on," said Harry Lafond of the Office of the Treaty Commissioner.

"The outcome will slowly involve everyone," he said. "There is no room for bystanders. We need to move to serious action and promote language, culture and spirituality in our schools. These must be seen as gifts and taught with more emphasis."
 


Le 11 juin, aidez à transformer les rêves en réalité pour les enfants des Premières Nations

Published: May 31, 2012 - Added: June 01, 2012 - Publication: First Nations Child and Family Caring Society web site

Link http://www.fncaringsociety.com/sites/default/files/our-dreams/Nos%20r%C3%AAves%20comptent%20aussiFR31mai2012.pdf

Le 11 juin 2012, joignez-vous aux communautés d'un océan à l'autre afin de manifester votre appui pour la marche et campagne épistolaire nationale Nos rêves comptent aussi qui s'organise un peu partout en vue de demander au gouvernement fédéral de donner aux enfants des Premières Nations la même possibilité que les autres enfants de grandir en sécurité à la maison, de recevoir une bonne éducation, d'être en santé et d'être fiers de leur culture.

Vous pouvez faire une importante différence le 11 juin en organisant une marche Nos rêves comptent aussi ou en participant à une de ces manifestations dans votre école, votre communauté ou votre entreprise. La marche prendra fin devant une boîte aux lettres dans votre communauté où des lettres seront envoyées au premier ministre et aux députés en appui à l'équité culturelle pour les enfants des Premières Nations.

La campagne Nos rêves comptent aussi est une initiative de la Société de soutien à l'enfance et à la famille des Premières Nations, l'un des plus ardents défenseurs des droits des enfants, des jeunes, des familles, des communautés et des peuples de Premières Nations du pays. Elle coïncide avec la Journée nationale de réconciliation, soit le 11 juin, date d'anniversaire des excuses présentées par le premier ministre pour le système de pensionnats. Le système retirait les jeunes enfants autochtones de leur famille et les envoyait dans des pensionnats, souvent éloignés de leur communauté afin de les dépouiller de leur héritage et de les forcer à s'assimiler à la culture dominante.

« Les services destinés aux enfants des Premières Nations notamment dans les domaines de l'éducation, de la santé et de la protection de l'enfance demeurent sous-financés par rapport à ceux offerts à tous les autres enfants. Cette situation fait en sorte qu'il est difficile pour les enfants des Premières Nations de réaliser leurs rêves et de grandir en étant fiers de ce qu'ils sont », de dire la directrice générale de la Société de soutien à l'enfance et à la famille des Premières Nations, Cindy Blackstock. « La marche Nos rêves comptent aussi a pour but de montrer combien de personnes au Canada veulent que les enfants des Premières Nations aient la même chance que tous les autres enfants de réussir, et ce, dans le respect de leur culture et de leur langue. »


On June 11, Help Dreams Become Reality for First Nations Children

Published: May 31, 2012 - Added: June 01, 2012 - Publication: First Nations Child and Family Caring Society web site

Link http://www.fncaringsociety.com/sites/default/files/our-dreams/OurDreamsMediaReleaseEN31May2012.pdf

On June 11, 2012, join with communities coast-to-coast to show support for Our Dreams Matter Too, a national walk and letter writing campaign calling on the federal government to give First Nations children the same chance to grow up safely at home, get a good education, be healthy, and proud of their cultures.

You can make a huge difference on June 11 by hosting or participating in an Our Dreams Matter Too walk in your school, community or place of business. Your walk will end at a mail box in your community, where letters will be sent to the Prime Minister and Members of Parliament to support culturally based equity for First Nations children.

Our Dreams Matter Too is an initiative of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (the Caring Society), a leading national advocate for First Nations children, young people, families, communities, and nations. The campaign coincides with the June 11 National Day of Reconciliation, the anniversary of the Prime Minister's apology for Residential Schools. The Residential School system removed Aboriginal children from their families and sent them to schools often far from their communities in an attempt to strip children of their heritage and to force them to assimilate into the dominant culture.


Residential school trauma haunts women still

Published: May 31, 2012 - Added: June 01, 2012 - Publication: APTN National News

Link http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2012/05/31/residential-school-trauma-haunts-women-still/

The legacy of residential schools continues to impact thousands of Aboriginal men and women across the country.

The over-incarceration of Metis, Inuit and First Nations women in Canada’s prison is another result of the residential school-era.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada is calling for an end to the overwhelming statistics.

APTN National News reporter Annette Francis has this story.  (This text serves as an introduction for a video report.)


Missing residential school children identified

Published: May 31, 2012 - Added: June 01, 2012 - Publication: Globe and Mail

Link http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/video/video-missing-residential-school-children-identified/article2448866/?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_content=2448866

Over 100 'missing children' deaths linked to residential schools have been uncovered. Ontario's coroner's office discovered the cases after reviewing 250,000 death records.  (This text serves as an introduction for a Canadian Press video.)

Identities, bodies of children who died in residential schools may be lost forever

Published: May 31, 2012 - Added: June 01, 2012 - Publication: APTN National News

Link http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2012/05/31/identities-bodies-of-children-who-died-in-residential-schools-may-be-lost-forever/

The identities and bodies of many First Nations children who died in Indian residential schools may be lost forever, says the Ontario Coroner’s Office which has been working with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to sift through one of the darkest periods in Canadian history to find the dead.

“Hundreds, if not thousands” of Indigenous children who went to residential schools died while in the care of the churches and Canadian government, according to Murray Sinclair, the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Many of their parents were never told of the deaths and the bodies buried in unmarked graves across the country.

The Ontario Coroner’s Office has been working with the TRC since January to uncover any archival records that could be use to trace children who never made it home. The TRC has taken on the task of identifying and finding the graves of the children who disappeared.

The search for records initially screened about 250,000 files which were narrowed down to 5,000 that were individually examined. The results produced 120 cases that could lead to the identification of children who died in residential schools.

“We expect that there will be some cases which will result either in the identification of a child that was that was no identified before or to a file that the TRC has a lot more information on,” said David Eden, regional supervising coroner for operations who has been working with the TRC to find records of these missing children.


About 120 missing children deaths tied to residential schools now ID'd

Published: June 01, 2012 - Added: June 01, 2012 - Publication: Winnipeg Free Press

Link http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/about-120-missing-children-deaths-tied-to-residential-schools-now-idd-155991465.html

An intensive review of Ontario records has so far turned up more than 100 possible cases of previously unidentified child and youth deaths linked to Indian residential schools, the province's chief coroner said Thursday.

The information was gleaned from close scrutiny of about 5,000 death records selected from an initial screening of 250,000 records going back to the 19th century.

"It's staggering to think that families would not have known what happened to a child that was sent off to the residential schools," Chief Coroner Dr. Andrew McCallum told The Canadian Press.

"There was a huge vacuum of information. What was fed back to the immediate family was highly inconsistent."