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The stories told at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings are hard to hear, but they need to be told. The commission’s mandate is “to learn the truth about what happened in the residential schools and to inform all Canadians about what happened in the schools.” That understanding is necessary, not only for residential school survivors and their families, but for the whole country.
The commission, led by Justice Murray Sinclair, began its community hearings on the Island Tuesday in Port Hardy. The hearings continue in Campbell River Thursday and Friday, Port Alberni March 12 -13, Cowichan March 15-16 and Victoria April 13-14.
Nunavut curriculum planners will bring the history of residential schools into a new course for Grade 10 students that will be introduced later this year in territorial schools.
The course’s photos, interviews and stories, in Inuktitut and English, will help students learn more about the 1950s and 1960s, when Inuit children left their homes across the Arctic to attend government-funded, church-run residential schools.
Smoke and sunshine intertwine at the top of the Kwanwatsi Big House.
The smoke represents healing.
The sunshine is hope.
The smoke is on its way out, the burned remains of terrible residential school memories.
The sunshine, a single brilliant ray illuminating one of the four carved house posts, brings reassurance and faith.
This is a unique gathering of First Nations bands from across Northern Vancouver Island, residential school survivors, their families and more than 100 local high school students.
On Monday afternoon, they’ve come to the big house on the Campbell River Indian Band Reserve to begin a healing process and to remember those who passed on and were never able to fully recover.
Among the 20 recommendations released last week by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission investigating the residential schools scandal, those directed to teaching the history of the period garnered the most attention.
Implicit in the TRC’s interim report is that the history of residential schools is not being taught. As such, the recommendations join a long list of occasions during which Canadians have been reminded of how their educational system is letting them down when it comes to teaching them about their country’s past.
It was a dark period in Canadian history and now residential schools could have a more prominent place in textbooks and classrooms across the country.
One recommendation from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is to teach Canadian children more about residential schools.
Hundreds of residential school survivors have shared their stories with the national panel and last week the commissioners submitted an interim report with 20 recommendations including the mandate for more education.
Residential schools were an assault on aboriginals and local schools should teach students about them in order to affect reconciliation, says a federal commission.
The federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its interim report last weekend. The report, part of the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, is part of an ongoing effort to reveal the truth of Canada’s residential school system to the public.
Falen Johnson has an understanding of this country's colonial history, but it's one she had to seek herself.
"You're not just born with a peace pipe in your hand," said Falen Johnson, a First Nations actor dedicated to providing education through her art. "We weren't taught either. We went through the same education systems."
Johnson is a member of Ontario's Six Nations Reserve and a graduate of the George Brown Theatre school. The critically acclaimed, Toronto-based actor stars in the upcoming Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company (SNTC) production of Where the Blood Mixes, an award-winning production that has been staged across Canada and won a 2009 Governor General's Award for drama. The play begins Thursday at Persephone Theatre's Backstage Stage.
In Where the Blood Mixes Johnson plays Christine, a woman of First Nations heritage who was adopted as a child. She returns to the reserve to find her biological father, a residential school survivor struggling with alcoholism. While the play is serious, it balances the pain with a keen sense of humour. Johnson saw the work staged in Toronto and knew about its development.
Playwright Kevin Loring spent nine years developing his script, which tells a difficult story of three residential school survivors and a daughter who returns to the reserve after 20 years.
This was supposed to be a day of celebration for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Their interim report, released Friday, offered steps for a reconciling Aboriginal people with the rest of Canada. But instead, it was overshadowed by a dramatic turnaround from the TRC’s head Justice Murray Sinclair on the issue of genocide.
APTN National News reporter Rob Smith has this story.
(Introduction to a video report of 3:14 in duration.)
The Métis Nation continues to seek recognition and compensation for the thousands of Métis Residential and Day school survivors not included in the Indian Residential School Settlements Agreement. The challenge facing the Métis Nation is the continued exclusion of the Métis Residential/Boarding schools from the Settlement Agreement, the government of Canada’s apology and the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission whose Interim Report was released on Friday, February 24, 2012.
“Reconciliation requires more than just one party at the table”, said Métis National Council (MNC) President Clément Chartier. “We made it clear that we would not be participating in the work of the TRC in the absence of some party taking responsibility for what happened to our children in the residential or boarding schools set up for Métis children.”
President Chartier also expressed concern that the Interim Report’s reference to a meeting of TRC Commissioners with the MNC leadership may imply that Métis Residential Schools were included in the Commission’s mandate and the Settlement Agreement itself: “ We met with the TRC to tell them we would not be participating in its work until such time that responsibility was assumed by the government and/or the church organizations involved and a settlement concluded with respect to Metis residential schools.”
Churches need to define how they're going to help repair the damage residential schools did to aboriginal culture in Canada and the federal government must cough up the millions of documents that future historians will need to tell the story of Canada's effort to assimilate First Nations' people, says the interim report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
The report marks the halfway point of the five-year mandate of the commission. It warns that government reluctance to provide full and meaningful access to Library and Archives Canada records threatens the mandate of the commission. The TRC intends to go to court to force greater government co-operation.
Christopher Powell, a sociologist at the U of M, has gone too far in his Feb. 24 column, Sinclair is correct -- it was genocide.
Without well-documented evidence, I'm afraid that Powell has misled his readers. For the sake of the truth, he should tone down his rhetorical claims.
Former Saskatchewan treaty commissioner Judge David Arnot almost seven years ago wrote on these pages about the importance of treaties and how widespread misunderstanding of these agreements have contributed to a culture of racism.
To address this ignorance, Judge Arnot struck an alliance with the Saskatchewan School Boards Association to begin teaching the next generation about the treaties and their importance not only to aboriginal residents of Saskatchewan but also to everyone who lives, works and does business in the treaty territories.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released an interim report last week that, among many other findings, suggests that similar challenges and opportunities exist when it comes to teaching Canadians about the devastating impact the residential school system has had on First Nation children and on the country that allowed it.
Former federal Indian Affairs Minister Andy Scott is supporting the idea of adding the history of residential schools to classroom education across Canada.
Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission submitted an interim report with 20 recommendations on Friday, including one saying Canada's residential school history should be taught in the classroom.
Scott, who was an honourary witness for the commission, said he believes students should learn about the sad chapter in Canadian history.
“I was very much moved by the fact that people said 'Nobody believed me' and I think there's incredible restorative benefit of having institutional belief so that when you teach it in school, that's the signal that this is the truth and a truth that needs to be told,” Scott said on Monday.
Only the crumbling remnants of three residential schools remain on Vancouver Island.
One is in Alert Bay. It is condemned and it is crumbling. But the chief of the local First Nation says it’s an important part of history that needs to be saved so that we never forget what happened there.
(Introduction to video of 2:32 in duration.)
THE SPEAKER: The Honourable Member for Edmonton-Strathcona.
LINDA DUNCAN (Official Opposition Aboriginal Affairs Spokesperson): Mr. Speaker, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has determined that residential schools constituted an assault on Aboriginal children, their families and their culture. In the opinion of the commission, these schools also constituted an assault on self-government and self-sustaining Aboriginal nations. Will this government now move beyond the apology? Will they heed the advice of the commission and use the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginal peoples?
THE SPEAKER: The Honourable Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.
JOHN DUNCAN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. We thank the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for their work. Through the settlement agreement provided and agreed to by all the parties, our government did provide 60 million for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to carry out its mandate. We provided additional funds to assist in the cost of administering a federal department. Significant funds have been committed to providing in-kind services and supporting the Aboriginal Healing Foundation and creating the advocacy and public information program. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Le gouvernement en restera-t-il aux simples excuses? Suivra-t-il le conseil de la commission et se servira-t-il de la Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les droits des peuples autochtones comme cadre de la réconciliation entre les peuples autochtones et non autochtones?
Dans le cadre de l'entente de règlement proposée et acceptée par toutes les parties, le gouvernement a accordé 60 millions de dollars à la commission pour qu'elle s'acquitte de son mandat. Nous avons fourni des fonds additionnels pour contribuer à l'administration d'un ministère fédéral. Des sommes importantes ont été consacrées à la prestation de services en nature, au soutien de la Fondation autochtone de guérison et à la mise sur pied du Programme d'information publique et de défense des intérêts.
"I just wanted to write a hockey novel,” explains author Richard Wagamese, describing the unlikely early blueprint for his harrowing new book, Indian Horse.
“There was an actual dream, alternate-reality sequence in which Saul Indian Horse faces off in a one-on-one shootout with Vladislav Tretiak. It was very much a ‘Shoeless-Joe-does-hockey’ kind of story, with a residential school as a very, very nebulous kind of background.”
The book would eventually come crashing down to earth and into darker terrain, all at the behest of Wagamese’s publisher.
Far from being gun shy about putting out a book that clearly indicts the Catholic Church for its role in the horror-filled residential school system, Douglas & McIntyre wanted something that would accurately show this shameful period in Canadian history, Wagamese says.
The B.C.-based Ojibwa, whose parents and grandparents were victims of a school system that pulled native children from their family and culture in the name of assimilation, obliged.
Current statistics indicate that only about one out of every five Canadians are aware of the Indian Residential School Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that was established in 2008.
I am concerned that the TRC and its events may be unable to compete with the popularity of other news stories and therefore fail to bring as many readers to news websites as more popular topics might. Thus, in its mission to reach out to Canadians, the TRC may be destined for failure if something is not done to remedy its limited exposure. Having said that, I am positive there is plenty of room on Canadian news websites to showcase the TRC’s work, because there seems to be ample space for “news stories” such as celebrity gossip, daily fashion, the U.S. elections, and the like. Furthermore, the TRC has opened accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in an attempt to broaden its reach and attract public attention. We should all be actively engaging, or, at the very least, watching closely and following the TRC’s work. After all, it is our duty as Canadians to learn our history, regardless of whether it’s good or bad, and to show respect to the people on whose lands we are living today.
The removal of aboriginal children to be placed in the residential school system was an act of genocide, stated Justice Murray Sinclair, the chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, during a lecture at the University of Manitoba Feb. 17.
Sinclair pointed out that the United Nations definition of genocide includes forcibly transferring children of a group to another group based on race.
He argued that in the past, Canada was careful to exclude its residential school policies from being scrutinized under this definition.
“But the reality is that to take children away from their families and place them in another group in society for the purpose of racial indoctrination was and is an act of genocide, and it occurs all around the world,” he said.
Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has received a dab of media attention, much of it for regrettable reasons. In October 2008, the TRC Chair Justice Harry LaForme resigned, citing the political interference of the Assembly of First Nations and the insubordination of his (AFN-appointed) co-commissioners, Claudette Dumont-Smith and Jane Brewin Morley. This inauspicious beginning yielded to inauspicious mid-points, the Canadian franchise of the TRC brand-name drawing attention for delays and the bureaucratic impediments which hindered its progress. The messenger aside, what about the message? On Friday, the final day of a three-day AFN National Justice Forum, in Vancouver, the Commission has been scheduled to release an Interim Report.
Following a three day national forum on First Nations driving change toward safe and thriving communities, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo welcomed the interim report today released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), further calling for a commitment by governments and all Canadians to engage in concrete reconciliation efforts.
“In this interim report, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission draws important conclusions and points to clear steps toward reconciliation,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. “Real reconciliation, though, is achieved through action and change. We must all work together to ensure these important recommendations are implemented in ways that address the needs of all residential schools survivors and families, and to ensure that from now on education will only be used to support and improve the continued and sustained success of First Nations as an investment in Canada’s collective future.”
The education system was the vehicle for inflicting generations of abuse and pain on aboriginal people in Canada so it must also be the vehicle for redemption, says the head of the commission studying the legacy of the schools.
Justice Murray Sinclair, the commission’s chairman, released the group’s interim report, which among other things, recommends Canadian children begin to learn about the residential school tragedy as part of their schoolwork.
Sinclair said during the commission hearings, panel members were struck by the amount Canadians don’t know about aboriginal people and the sorry legacy of residential schools.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its interim report Friday on dealing with Canada's residential school legacy.
One recommendation is for every survivor to receive a written copy of the government's apology.
Ron Morrisseau, a 77-year-old survivor of St. Joseph's residential school in Thunder Bay, said he's not sure about that plan.
“I don't think this is over,” Morrisseau said. “Someone else may come up with an idea of doing this to the native people, because of the way they treated them, I don't know if they're really sorry for it.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s historic apology to survivors of the residential schools was a fundamental first step toward acknowledging the agony of their experience.
But now, more concrete action must be taken to address the tragic consequences of forcibly separating 150,000 Inuit, Métis and First Nations children from their families, consequences that continue to reverberate in aboriginal communities today.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s interim report makes several specific recommendations, which Ottawa and the provinces would be wise to implement, among them making sure that every Canadian learns what went on in these institutions, and the extent of the abuse, neglect and cultural loss. The commissioners found that many Canadians remain ignorant about those events. A massive public education campaign is needed, including the development of an authoritative curriculum and teaching materials for schools.
Funding for education, healing and cultural-revival programs were among the major recommendations laid out in an interim report officially released Friday by the commission established to explore the legacy of Canada's residential school system.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report lists 20 recommendations - the result of the commissioners' Canada-wide tour to hear the stories of former students of residential schools.
Ottawa is restricting access to federal archives and withholding several key documents on church-run residential schooling, says the Truth and Reconciliation Commission charged with exposing the dark legacy of this period in aboriginal education.
The commission’s mandate is to create a comprehensive historical record of residential schooling in Canada with a purpose of helping victims to heal and encourage reconciliation between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians. But in an interim report released Friday in Vancouver, the commission says the federal government and some churches are frustrating their efforts to search through their archives and causing “considerable delay.”
The commission that was established to reveal the dark legacy of church-run residential schools for aboriginal children says all Canadians should be made more aware of the sorry chapter in their country’s history.
In an interim report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to be released on Friday in Vancouver, Mr. Justice Murray Sinclair says comprehensive awareness efforts are needed to ensure that the rest of Canada fully understands the pain of the students who attended the schools and the parents whose children were taken from them.
Judge Sinclair recommends that every province and territory review its public-school curriculum to assess what, if anything, is being taught about the residential schools and to develop age-appropriate educational material. In addition, the TRC would like to work with the governments to develop unique local campaigns to educate the general public on residential schools.
Recommendations will be made to B.C. Supreme Court today after a three-month investigation into the Calgary law firm Blott & Company, which allegedly mishandled the residential school abuse compensation awards of some of its 4,100 aboriginal clients.
"I can assure you this has been a very thorough investigation and treated very seriously. It has not been a whitewash," AFN lawyer Kathleen Mahoney told delegates at the Assembly of First Nations Aboriginal Justice Forum Thurs-day at the Westin Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver.
She expects the B.C. Supreme Court judge, after receiving the recommendations today, will set a hearing date to hear from all parties and then decide whether Blott & Company breached the settlement process rules and determine "whether those interest rates and finder fees were legitimate."
Previously the chief adjudicator in the settlement agreement process, Daniel Ish, said the court-ordered investigation should serve as a "wake-up call" to about 200 lawyers representing Individual Assessment Pro-cess clients across Canada.
The residential school system constituted an assault on aboriginal children, families and culture, and Canadians have been denied a full and proper education about aboriginal societies, according to a copy of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's interim report obtained by CBC News.
The interim report was leaked Thursday to CBC News, a day before the three commissioners — chair Murray Sinclair, Wilton Littlechild and Marie Wilson — release the report in Vancouver.
Their 20 recommendations address education, health and commemoration, among other issues.
La Commission de vérité et de réconciliation du Canada (CVR) déposera ce vendredi, à Vancouver, un rapport intermédiaire constitué à la suite des premières audiences tenues par les commissaires sur les conditions de vie dans les pensionnats autochtones.
Dans une copie du rapport obtenue par CBC News, les commissaires estiment que les provinces canadiennes doivent revoir la façon dont on enseigne l'histoire des pensionnats autochtones.
D'après le document, ces pensionnats constituaient une agression contre les enfants autochtones, leurs parents et leur culture.
Cette politique, estiment les commissaires, a également privé les Canadiens d'une éducation précieuse sur la vie et les sociétés autochtones qui peuplent leur pays.
A commission set up to help First Nations heal from abuses they suffered in residential schools is about to release an interim report and a new historical publication.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada will release the documents during a presentation this morning at Simon Fraser University's downtown Vancouver campus.
The CBC says it obtained a leaked copy of the interim report and that it contains 20 recommendations that address such areas of education, health and commemoration.
The commission reportedly calls for all provinces and territories to develop residential school education materials and to hold education campaigns about the history and impact of residential schools in their jurisdictions.
Richard Wagamese is a busy man. In addition to publishing four books in the last eight months and winning a National Aboriginal Achievement Award, he has had to deal with the 25 centimetres of snow that was dumped on his 25-metre-long driveway at his house outside of Kamloops, B.C. "Excuse me if I'm out of breath," he said as he sat down to talk with Jon Roe about the award and his new novel, Indian Horse, which chronicles the experiences of a young boy in hockey and the residential school system. Check out swervecalgary.com for the full interview.
Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, has declared that Canada's Indian residential school system was an act of genocide. This statement will disturb many Canadians. Some will say that our collective soul-searching over the Indian residential schools has gone on long enough, or too long, and that indigenous people should just let go of the past and move on.
But Justice Sinclair was right to make this declaration. Acknowledging Canada's responsibility for genocide is necessary to heal the great harm done by this traumatic historic event. It is necessary both for indigenous peoples, and for non-indigenous Canadians as well.
The Indian Residential School system was "not simply a dark chapter from our past," says a report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. "It was integral to the making of Canada."
That a young Canada benefited from an education system designed to assimilate Aboriginal Peoples — by taking away their children and re-educating them — is difficult to swallow.
But, as the report released late Thursday says, the fact that this idea is news to many Canadians is part of the problem.
It goes further, saying the Residential School system was only part of a system designed to gain control of aboriginal land. "The Canadian government signed treaties it did not respect, took over land without making treaties, and unilaterally passed laws that controlled nearly every aspect of aboriginal life."
Many Canadians will "see their country differently" after hearing the truth about the residential school system, said commission chair, Justice Murray Sinclair.
A Winnipeg lawyer has been disbarred after admitting he overcharged clients residential school clients to the tune of almost $1 million.
A Law Society of Manitoba panel revoked Howard Tennenhouse’s licence on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to professional misconduct related to 55 of his more than 100 residential school cases.
The Commission will release its interim report and a new historical publication in Vancouver, BC on Friday, February 24, 2012.
Justice Murray Sinclair, TRC Chair, Commissioner Chief Wilton Littlechild and Commissioner Marie Wilson will meet with members of the media at the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue on the campus of Simon Fraser University.
Please join the TRC for this important announcement by watching here via webcast from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m PT.
Richard Wagamese’s writing is exceptional not only for its sensitivity but for a warmth that extends beyond the page. With a finely calibrated hand, he explores heritage, identity, nature, salvation, and gratitude in works that quietly celebrate storytelling’s vitality and power to transcend.
“I believe that storytelling in and of itself is a truly redemptive thing,” he says, “and it allows us to create the one story that is told forever about our time here.” Recipient of the 2012 National Aboriginal Achievement Award for media and communications, the acclaimed Ojibwa writer is introspective and articulate as he talks to the Straight about writing his latest novel, Indian Horse.
“I really believe it took a lot longer because of the emotional territory it covers,” he says, on the phone from his writing studio in Paul Lake, B.C. “And it covers a wide range of things, from loss and grief to addiction to trauma.…the territory that it covers is really, really harrowing for me to explore as a First Nations person—and really, really difficult as a writer to attempt to both get right from a historical perspective and to illuminate that dark history of residential schools appropriately, without assessing too much vilification and anger and empty rhetoric towards the whole process.”
Health workers in northern Ontario are warning that the rise of injection drug use on reserves could lead to an HIV epidemic similar to the crisis Saskatchewan faced in recent years if preventive actions are not taken.
Dr. Kathy Pouteau, a family doctor for Kasabonika Lake First Nation in northern Ontario, said the rise of injection drug use makes blood-borne infections like HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B a real concern.
She said provinces like Saskatchewan are "illustrative of what we might anticipate, especially if some of the efforts to try to reduce and hopefully even prevent new cases of HIV in the area in this context of injection drug use aren't recognized and if we don't take advantage of those strategies now."
Across Canada, aboriginal people account for eight per cent of HIV infections. Two thirds of all HIV infections in aboriginal people are a result of injection drug use.
Margaret Poitras, CEO of All Nations Hope, a Regina-based organization that supports aboriginal people with HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C, said the high incidence of intergenerational injection drug use is a symptom of a deeper problem, in particular the history of residential schools.
When the eagle feather gets passed to Tina, it’s her turn to check in.
She has been coming to Toronto’s Aboriginal Day Withdrawal Management Program for a month, but this is the first time she has shared the pain behind her addiction.
The tears immediately start flowing.
“I’m a wreck. I hate sharing. I’ve always been the tough person,” she tells the other addicts in the room. “Now I have all these feelings and I don’t know where they are coming from. I want to get high instead.”
Everyone in the room is fighting demons fed by the “intergenerational trauma” of residential schools, colonialism and “spiritual genocide.”
The check-ins offer a glimpse into their wounded worlds.
“We’re very good at forgetting about this,” observed Dr. John Milloy, speaking to a packed room of nearly 100 students, faculty and alumni who had come to hear him talk about Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), at Traill College’s Bagnani Hall on Wednesday, February 15, 2012.
Professor Milloy, an award-winning professor with Trent’s Canadian Studies Department, is the special advisor (history) to the commissioner of the TRC, a $60-million, five-year initiative that aims to redress the wrongs done to native Canadians through the Indian Residential School (IRS) system. His talk, entitled “Survivor’s Narratives: Voices from Inside the Circle of Civilized Conditions”, offered the Trent community an historical perspective on residential schools: their creation, conditions within them, the harm done by them, and the ways in which that legacy is being addressed by the TRC.
First they were abused at residential school. Then they were each charged thousands in fees by the very attorney who was supposed to help them obtain redress.
Fifty-five residential school survivors in Manitoba are getting their due, reimbursed for a total of nearly $1 million in fees that Howard Tennenhouse charged them collectively for negotiating their compensation under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
Tennenhouse was disbarred on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to charging the survivors $932,501.80 as fees, APTN reported. This was in addition to the 15 percent that the government pays attorneys on each settled claim, and should only have been levied if approved by an adjudicator, according to CBC News.
La CVR présentera son rapport provisoire et son rapport historique vendredi le 24 février 2012, à Vancouver (C.-B.), au Centre pour le dialogue Morris J Wosk.
L'annonce sera faite par le juge Murray Sinclair, président de la Commission de vérité et réconciliation, le commissaire et chef Wilton Littlechild et la commissaire Marie Wilson à 10 h 30 HNP.
On vous prie de vous rejoindre à nous pour cette announce importante qui sera diffusé en direct sur le Web à www.cvr.ca.
His law career finished after being disbarred for overcharging residential school victims, Howard Tennenhouse was anything but contrite as he lashed out at the fate he had been dealt Tuesday.
In a call to the Free Press after the Law Society of Manitoba meted out his punishment, the former lawyer, who pleaded guilty to professional misconduct, argued he was the real victim of the case, not his clients.
He criticized the law society, the federal residential school compensation agency and the media -- and even suggested his clients were somehow responsible for his troubles.
The Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat, which sets the fees, tried to discipline him and last year reported him to the law society. The federal government is in the midst of a $5-billion settlement agreement compensating some of the 80,000 First Nations and Inuit children who were forcibly removed from their homes to attend residential schools.
Howard Lorne Tennenhouse was disbarred by the Law Society of Manitoba Tuesday after pleading guilty to taking nearly $1 million from 55 residential school survivors.
Complaints from the former students helped expose the Winnipeg lawyer. Tennenhouse was acting on their behalf in claims for compensation for abuse they suffered as children at Indian Residential Schools.
It’s the first time anyone at the disciplinary hearing, conducted at the Law Society’s Winnipeg offices, had heard of a lawyer losing his licence to practice law for over-charging residential school survivors.
Hundreds of lawyers across Canada are working with thousands of survivors as part of the Independent Assessment Process of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. The process compensates survivors for sexual and the worst physical abuse suffered at the church-run schools.
A Winnipeg lawyer has been stripped of his licence to practise law because he overcharged 55 former residential school students of almost $1 million.
Howard Tennenhouse pleaded guilty on Tuesday to professional misconduct for taking more than $950,000 in excess fees from former students he represented in federal compensation claims.
The Law Society of Manitoba, which disbarred Tennenhouse, said all former students will be reimbursed, either by Tennenhouse himself or by the society.
Allan Fineblit, the law society's chief executive officer, said half of the money has already been recovered and cheques will be going to the affected survivors as soon as possible.
L'avocat Howard Tennenhouse a été radié du barreau manitobain pour avoir surfacturé ses services rendus aux survivants de pensionnats autochtones.
Tennenhouse a admis mardi avoir facturé 950 000 dollars en trop à d'anciens pensionnaires qu'il a représentés dans des cas d'indemnisation pour les torts soufferts. La Société du barreau du Manitoba affirme que les 55 clients affectés seront remboursés, et que la moitié de l'argent payé a déjà été récupéré.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has recommended that USLCES (Upper St’at’imc Language, Culture and Education Society) receive funding from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) for a language project.
A total of $100,000 has been approved for the project, titled “Toward Reversing Language Loss Due to Residential Schooling through St’át’imc Language Documentation, Curriculum Development and Language/Culture Education.”
Some survivors of Indian residential schools tried for years to forget their experiences but the focus of a workshop now underway in the city is to find ways to remember.
Organized by the Blood Tribe Department of Health, the Kaamotaani, Samipaitapiyiisini (Survival, long life) workshop brings together survivors of St. Paul's and St. Mary's residential schools, Blood Tribe community leaders and Marie Wilson, a commissioner with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Les membres de la Première Nation d’Alderville pourront suivre des cours d’ojibwé, grâce à un investissement du gouvernement du Canada. C’est ce qu’a annoncé aujourd’hui M. Rick Norlock, député de Northumberland–Quinte West, au nom de l’honorable James Moore, ministre du Patrimoine canadien et des Langues officielles.
« La Première Nation d’Alderville est très heureuse de recevoir ce soutien du gouvernement du Canada pour son projet de revitalisation de l’ojibwé, a mentionné le chef James R Marsden. Ce financement est un geste concret à la suite des excuses présentées par le premier ministre pour les dommages qu’ont subis les membres des Premières Nations dans les pensionnats indiens. Nous sommes déterminés à refaire une place à cette langue dans notre communauté, et cet appui nous aidera à nous procurer les ressources nécessaires pour favoriser une meilleure connaissance et une plus grande utilisation de l’anishinaabemowin. Nous sommes très heureux de faire participer différentes générations à ce projet et de voir notre langue gagner en popularité. »
Members of the Alderville First Nation will have access to Ojibway language-learning opportunities thanks to an investment from the Government of Canada. This was announced today by Rick Norlock, Member of Parliament (Northumberland–Quinte West), on behalf of the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.
“Alderville First Nation is happy to receive support from the Government of Canada for our Ojibway Language Revitalization project,” said Chief James R Marsden. “This puts action to the words of the Prime Minister’s apology for the damage to First Nations cultures caused by Indian Residential Schools. We are dedicated to bringing the language back into our community and this grant will help provide the necessary tools to increase the knowledge and use of Anishinaabemowin. We are very excited about involving the different generations within our community in this project and seeing our language expand.”
This time they're meeting with residential school survivors behind closed doors to collect personal stories.
We speak with a representative...(Introduction for an audio interview of 7:19 in duration.)
Thousands from across the world are tuning in to the live webcast being streamed from TRC Hearings. While Survivors are sharing their truth people from all over Canada and the globe are listening. Among the countries are USA, Spain, Greece, Japan, UK, Albania, Russian Federation, Netherlands, India, Mexico and Denmark.
If you have a chance, please take some time to witness the testimony being given.
The long forced assimilation of Native Americans into America's white society played Sunday in still photographs and film interviews on a church screen.
"It makes me sad," said Helen deFinta of Marshall, when the lights came on.
"There was a holocaust in this country," added Linda Cypret-Kilbourne, also of Marshall.
The two women were among a handful of people who watched "Our Spirits Don't Speak English," an 80-minute film about Indian boarding schools from the 19th and 20th century and how they were used by the United States government as an attempt to wash away the culture and language of Indian children.
Le juge qui préside la Commission de vérité et de réconciliation du Canada affirme que les pensionnats autochtones fédéraux, où on séjourné plus de 100 000 enfants des Premières Nations, ont constitué une forme de génocide.
Le commissaire Murray Sinclair a précisé que la définition de génocide des Nations unies comprend le fait de retirer les enfants de leur milieu en raison de leur origine raciale pour les placer dans un autre milieu afin de les endoctriner.
Il a ajouté que le Canada a fait en sorte que les pensionnats ne répondent pas tout à fait à la définition de l'ONU sur les génocides, afin de pouvoir continuer à séparer des milliers d'enfants des Premières Nations de leurs parents.
«C'est pourquoi le ministre des Affaires indiennes peut dire qu'il ne s'agissait pas d'un génocide», a déclaré M. Sinclair lors d'un allocution prononcée devant des étudiants de l'Université du Manitoba, à Winnipeg.
The chairman of Canada's truth and reconciliation commission says removing more than 100,000 aboriginal children from their homes and placing them in residential schools was an act of genocide.
Justice Murray Sinclair says the United Nations defines genocide to include the removal of children based on race, then placing them with another race to indoctrinate them. He says Canada has been careful to ensure its residential school policy was not "caught up" in the UN's definition.
"That's why the minister of Indian affairs can say this was not an act of genocide," Sinclair told students at the University of Manitoba Friday. "But the reality is that to take children away and to place them with another group in society for the purpose of racial indoctrination was — and is — an act of genocide and it occurs all around the world."
While this is no surprise to babblers, it is the first acknowledgement of Canada's genocide by any official Canadian source. I hope that like the apology, this acknowledgement will fuel a broad conversation among Canadians about the corporate greed for land and resources, and the collusion of churches, governments, and police, that led to these abominable acts against children and families, throughout Canada's history. Greed has, and continues to deprive Indigenous Peoples of their ways of life, and now threatens us all with economic and environmental degradation and destruction. The chairman of Canada’s truth and reconciliation commission says removing more than 100,000 aboriginal children from their homes and placing them in residential schools was an act of genocide.
The basics of colonization:
To destroy a culture, you must destroy the children. You destroy the children by taking their mothers.
Women -- child-bearers, life-givers -- sit at the heart of the community. Indigenous culture is carried in the blood and breath of the mother who teaches the next generation. Two-legged and four-legged children alike are born falling to the ground and they fall down on the ground again to die.
To destroy a culture, you must destroy the mothers.
Questions were raised Feb. 2-3 after an Arrest the Legacy circle in Thunder Bay heard 145 of 150 people in the Kenora Jail about a year ago were Aboriginal.
“A hundred were male, and of those 100, 95 per cent were Aboriginal male,” said Jackie Fletcher, a member of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation Women’s Council, quoting numbers brought up by former NAN deputy grand chief Alvin Fiddler during the Arrest the Legacy From Residential Schools to Prisons circle.
“The other 50 were women, and of the 50 women, they were all Aboriginal women. That totally blew me away — I’m talking about overrepresentation.”
Although she knew there was Aboriginal overrepresentation in the prison system, Fletcher found the statistics Fiddler discovered during a visit to the Kenora Jail to be “just phenomenal.”
The Arrest the Legacy circle was held by the Native Women’s Association of Canada at the Thunder Bay Metis Community Centre to encourage discussion about and to gain an understanding of the impact of the Canadian legal system on Aboriginal women and girls, including direct and intergenerational survivors of the residential school system.
Justice Murray Sinclair will deliver a free public lecture this afternoon at the University of Manitoba.
Sinclair is the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and will make a presentation as part of the Native Studies Colloquium Series.
His lecture, “Residential Schools: Everyone’s a Victim,” will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Migizii Agamik (Bald Eagle Lodge), 45 Curry Place, on the U of M’s Fort Garry campus.
Sinclair was Manitoba’s first Aboriginal judge, originally being appointed to the Provincial Court of Manitoba in March of 1988 and the Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba in January 2001.
The federal government is braced for a possible lawsuit aimed at forcing it to give “certain aboriginal languages” the same official status as English and French, according to an access-to-information document obtained by Postmedia News.
The July 2010 briefing note to Heritage Minister James Moore, who also oversees the country’s Official Languages Act, indicates that “the Assembly of First Nations is considering taking the government of Canada to court” to enshrine an unspecified number of indigenous languages as “official” in Canadian law.
Background information accompanying the memo to Mr. Moore indicated that “the decline of aboriginal languages can largely be attributed to the long history of the removal of children from aboriginal communities through the Indian residential school system, the migration of aboriginal peoples to urban settings and the impact of mass media.”
RCMP Const. Kim Mueller oversees a program aimed at young and at-risk indigenous teenagers the Soaring Eagles - Aboriginal Youth Taking Back Our Community program.
According to statistics regarding Canada’s Aboriginal youngsters the facts are alarming:
• There are low numbers of Aboriginal youth completing high school;
• Unemployment rates of Aboriginal youth are consistently two to three times higher than average;
• There is a large number of Aboriginal youth in the legal system
• A high number of teenage pregnancies;
• Rates of welfare dependency extraordinarily high in the 19-24 age groups;
• A large number of Aboriginal youth are being raised in single parent families and foster homes;
• The suicide rate is five to six times higher than the national average;
• A high number of Aboriginal youth living in poverty/sub standard living conditions.
“Although there are many factors for these statistics it is largely believed that this may be the effects of residential schools haunting the youth,” said Mueller in the program report.
Aboriginal identity and values represent the strength of our culture. Aboriginal people cannot begin to heal without knowing who they are as a Raké:ni, Ista,Tiakení:teron, Rakshótha or Akshótha. Part of finding our voice means sharing our experience with our loved ones. Far too often, community members are ashamed to speak about their residential school experience, and children and grandchildren grow up not knowing what happened to their family and ancestors.
Canadians play an important role in the healing of residential school victims. It is important that all Canadians recognize and accept what their forefathers and this country failed to accomplish. Most Canadians find it hard to believe that Canada, a nation rich in diverse cultures, once tried to rid an entire race of people. This is a very real and disturbing part of Canadian history. What many Canadians also fail to realize is that by attempting to eradicate “Indians”, Canadians were robbed of sharing in the richness of my people. The opportunity to benefit from the knowledge, teachings, and principles that we live by were denied to them. Diversity matters and only through education can we share what happened so it will never happen again.
Barbaric Civilization: A Critical Sociology of Genocide by Christopher Powell is a provocative analysis of how genocides result from the expansion of Western civilization. Connecting historical developments with everyday life occurrences, and discussing examples ranging from thirteenth-century Languedoc to 1994 Rwanda, Powell offers an original framework for analyzing, comparing, and discussing genocides as variable outcomes of a common underlying social system, raising unsettling questions about the contradictions of Western civilization and the possibility of a world without genocide.
Canada has an uncanny ability to be painted as a picturesque, romantic, eco-conscious and friendly nation. A nation filled with a mosaic of peoples, languages, cultures, and traditions. A nation where recycling is the norm, where people hold doors open for others, where assassins use pies instead of bullets, and where you can find a coffee and glazed donut on just about every other street corner. This perceived awesomeness of Canada, while occasionally true, hasn’t always been the case. There have been moments in Canadian history, and even the present, where I couldn’t help but think I am ashamed to be a Canadian.
Alberta's Tar Sands...
...Unfair Treatment of Chinese Immigrants (CPR)...
...Eugenics in Canada...
...Internment Camps of World War I and World War II...
I love Canada, don’t get me wrong, but you’d have to be an emotional mute not to find these moments a little bit sick and twisted. It’s clear that these problems that were faced in the past, and the few that are ongoing, aren’t completely unique to Canada. Polution, cultural genocide, racism, and a blatant disregard for human rights happens every day across the globe. While some of you may think “ashamed” is a strong word to use, it’s really the only one I can think of when it comes down to it. We’re better than this type of behaviour, at least we should be. If people from afar can hold Canada in such high regards, we as citizens need to as well. We need to learn from our mistakes, and find a way to grow beyond these events. This country has so much potential to become that eco-conscious, friendly and accepting country. At the end of the day, Canada needs to be a bit more true, a little more strong, and a lot more free.
A scheme to extort money from a pregnant woman who had just received money from a residential school settlement backfired after the woman went to police.
Two people ended up being charged with robbery and extortion. Both pleaded not guilty but at trial on Thursday, Sky Dawn Toutsaint was convicted of the charges in Saskatoon provincial court. Her co-accused, Arden Felix Panipekeesick, has a trial date in September.
Re: "Grandin station mural salutes brave pioneers," by John Marple, Letters, Feb. 12.
So much of this letter is misleading as it distorts Canadian history. It is not possible to cover 200 years of a complex history in a few paragraphs and do it justice.
The writer is aware of the residential school system and the harm done, as well as the apology by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but minimizes the impact of these issues in order to focus on the good deeds of the "brave pioneers."
The images in the Grandin mural remind us of the abuses that occurred in residential schools, the role of the priests and the fact that children were taken from their families. The mural is not benign to us.
Britain’s coalition government recently added an interesting chapter to the history of official apologies by refusing to pardon Alan Turing, the mathematician who broke the Wehrmacht navy’s Enigma codes and effectively invented the computer. His 1952 conviction for “gross indecency” — i.e., for pursuing a homosexual relationship — led to a choice between prison and chemical castration. And his choice of the latter led directly, it is commonly believed, to his suicide by poisoning in 1954. It was a hell of a way to treat a war hero, or anyone else for that matter.
An official apology is on the record. “It is no exaggeration to say that, without his outstanding contribution, the history of the Second World War could have been very different,” then-prime minister Gordon Brown said in 2009. “The debt of gratitude he is owed makes it all the more horrifying, therefore, that he was treated so inhumanely.”
It seems to me that a posthumous pardon is most desirable where someone was wrongly convicted, not where someone was rightly convicted of a crime that shouldn’t have existed.
And the most appropriate apologies, it seems to me, are issued concerning matters where official policy wasn’t followed, or where institutions ignored widespread wrongdoing. In centuries past, governments had an alarming penchant for taking children away — British orphans (well, mostly orphans) shipped off to the colonies, for example, and Canada’s residential school system for aboriginal children. These programs are appalling relics. But the residential school system never prescribed rampant sexual abuse or letting children die of tuberculosis. The Home Children program never sanctioned telling children their parents were dead when they were not. Those things happened anyway, and they warrant apologies.
The issue of Turing’s pardon, however, shows how politics, activism and advocacy can suck the logic out of these campaigns for redress even as they invigorate them. In this and many other cases, it seems far more appropriate simply to shine a light on past events, consider the injustices and fight against those that remain.
HE may not have meant to, but B.C. author Richard Wagamese captures the beauty of hockey as few sportswriters could hope to match.
His new novel, Indian Horse, is not essentially about hockey. But Wagamese's elegance in describing the game's power to fulfil, however temporarily, the needs of an aboriginal boy raises hockey to a kind of spiritual level.
The novel is about racism in its rawest form, brutally expressed by the residential school, and generally supported by the larger culture.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), which in investigating the experiences of those who attended residential schools, is coming to the Cowichan Valley in March.
In preparation for a regional event to be held in Victoria at the Empress Hotel on April 13-14 the TRC is planning four community hearings across Vancouver Island.
These are: Port Hardy (Feb. 2728), Campbell River (March 1-2), Port Alberni (March 12-13) and, finally, Duncan (March 15-16).
Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada is conducting workshops for 130 youth from across Canada through a partnership with Encounters with Canada from February 13 – 17. The event is being held at the Terry Fox Centre in Ottawa..
The youth, aged 14-17 years-old are participating in an Inuit Art and Culture week with a focus on residential schools. Special guest presenters and performers include Michael Kusugak, Aaju Peter, Becky Killabuq and Geronimo ‘MadEskimo’ Inutiq.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has begun to record statements from residential school survivors in Pelican Narrows.
Willie Littlechild is representing the commission at the two-day event.
The second day of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is underway in Pelican Narrows today.
This morning, audience members witnessed an apology on behalf of a United Church minister.
David Kim Cragg heads up a congregation in Saskatoon.
He said he can't imagine someone coming to his house and asking to take away his son to a far away school.
Juanita was a child when she was sexually exploited for the first time.
The Edmonton woman shared her story of hell and hope at a human trafficking workshop held at the Discovery Baptist Church on Saturday.
"I was groomed and born into exploitation," she said. "Both of my parents were addicted, I was a child of poverty and a child of historical trauma."
Her mother was a residential schools survivor who had mental health issues and was an alcoholic and drug user. Her father's side of the family had a history of addictions.
Re: 'Dismantle reserves and integrate First Nations (Your Letters, Daily News, Feb. 8)
The reality is that more than ever there are news articles about indigenous issues. This is happening for a number of reasons and in an ideal world the newspaper would be a space to courageously confront issues such as indigenous rights and settler unease. Unfortunately, one only has to scan the online comments that follow the news articles about indigenous issues in order to get a pulse of the current state of settler-indigenous relations.
On one end of the continuum, people who post comments are sincere and transparent as they wrestle with complex issues related to our collective history. On the other end of the spectrum are postings that reflect a current of hostility and contempt for indigenous people. The comments on this end of the spectrum are not benign and do not serve to open or enrich the dialogue.
"Towards Healing and Renewal," a conference held at Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University (PGU) in Rome, concluded Feb. 9 with the announcement of a $1.6 million Vatican initiative to fight the abuse of children by Roman Catholic clergy.
During a press conference at the end of the four-day summit, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich, and other spokespersons outlined plans for a multilingual international Internet centre to combat pedophilia. The e-learning Centre for Child Protection—based in Germany and with partners in Argentina, Ecuador, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Italy and Kenya—will provide online training for professionals responding to the sexual abuse of minors and will make accessible research and best practice to eradicate such abuse. The 30-hour training program will be available in Spanish, English, Italian and German.
During their youth, both Bill McArthur and Gary Hill were sent to Woodlands, a residential school run by the provincial government for children with physical and cognitive disabilities, or from families experiencing difficult circumstances.
There, however, they suffered abuse. Mr. Macarthur was sexually molested, and came to close to drowning when he was submerged into ice cold water. Instead of receiving any education, Mr. Hill was forced to perform hard labour. He is now learning how to read. Woodlands was demolished this past year. Both Mr. Hill and Mr. McArthur were on the grounds to watch the building be torn down.
But the dark chapter on Woodlands is still not closed, because the government has been challenging Mr. MacArthur, Mr. Hill, and other former students' right to seek redress for over 10 years.
In preparation for the TRC Regional Event in April 2012,the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), in collaboration with the Kwakiutl Band, will be in
Port Hardy, BC
February 27-28, 9am-5pm
Location: The Big House - U’Gwamalis Hall
99 Tsakis Way
An exhibit intended to increase awareness about the history and legacy of residential schools in Canada touches down at the University of Manitoba's Bannatyne Campus Thur., Feb. 9. It runs until Feb. 16.
The project, "100 Years of Loss – The Residential School System in Canada", promotes the Legacy of Hope Foundation, a national Aboriginal charitable organization.
The exhibit intends to challenge stereotypes and cultivate a discussion between people. It is bilingual and free to the public.
For more information, please visit: www.legacyofhope.ca/projects
The Works International Visual Arts Society presents video and performances by Terrance Houle in the Community Centre at METROPOLIS.
- Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m., live performance of All For You with Terrance Houle and guests. All For You is a video projection featuring portraits of aboriginal residential school attendees that were asked: "What makes you happy? Where? What makes you feel alive?". Houle, musician Distance Bullock, and special guests create a live soundtrack to these portraits creating a compassionate reconciliation.
First Nations students are not failing, “rather we are failing them ...” the panel appointed to study native education wrote in a report that delivers an aggressive blueprint on how to fix a broken system.
The federal government and First Nations leaders must respond to the report with the same sense of urgency with which it was written. It would be easy, given the economic times, for the federal government to put the recommendations on a slow track or, worse, ignore them. Doing so would not only be costly for all Canadians, but it would relegate another generation of children to a lesser life than their non-aboriginal counterparts.
Failing to act would also mean reneging on an implicit promise made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008 when he apologized for the residential school system, saying: “You have been working on recovering from this experience for a long time and in a very real sense, we are now joining you on this journey.” Reforming First Nations education, the panel rightly concludes, is an important step in the reconciliation process.
In preparation for the TRC Regional Event in April 2012, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) will be in Port Alberni, BC
March 12-13, 9am-5pm
Location: MAHT MAHS GYMNASIUM, 5000 Mission Road
La Commission de vérité et réconciliation du Canada est à Whitehorse cette semaine afin d'écouter le témoignage des victimes des pensionnats autochtones.
Elles peuvent partager leurs expériences au Golrush Inn du lundi au vendredi de 9 h à 17 h.
« Si vous n'êtes pas sûr de vouloir en parler, venez quand même et décidez ensuite. La commission veut documenter les faits afin qu'ils ne se reproduisent plus », explique Joanne Henry qui a été envoyée dans un pensionnat indien à l'âge de cinq ans.
The Vatican's top sex abuse investigator called for greater accountability under church law of bishops who shield or fail to discipline pedophile priests.
Msgr. Charles Scicluna, promoter of justice for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, made his remarks to reporters in Rome Feb. 8, after addressing an international symposium on clerical sex abuse.
"It is a crime in canon law to show malicious or fraudulent negligence in the exercise of one's duty," Msgr. Scicluna said, regarding the responsibility of bishops to protect children and punish abusers.
A mobile exhibit designed to raise awareness about the history and legacy of Residential Schools in Canada is arriving to the University of Manitoba’s Bannatyne Campus tomorrow.
The exhibit, “100 Years of Loss – The Residential School System in Canada”, is a project of the Legacy of Hope Foundation, a national Aboriginal charitable organization.
What: 100 Years of Loss exhibit (www.legacyofhope.ca/projects)
When: Thursday, February 9, 2012, 2:00 p.m., until February 16, 2012.
Where: Brodie Atrium, 727 McDermot Ave., Bannatyne Campus, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg
Cardinal Marc Ouellet led a penitential vigil to show contrition for the sexual abuse of children by priests and for the actions of Catholic officials who shielded the perpetrators from justice Feb. 7.
Ouellet, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, presided over the vigil during a week-long symposium attended by representatives of 110 bishops’ conferences and 30 religious orders. The Feb. 6-9 conference, “Toward Healing and Renewal,” launched a global initiative aimed at improving efforts to stop clerical sexual abuse and better protect children and vulnerable adults. It was held at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University and is supported by the Vatican Secretariat of State and several other Vatican offices.
Canadian Federation of University Women - North Vancouver: Sister Marie Zarowny will be the guest speaker at the club's meeting Thursday, Feb. 9, 7 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion, 123 West 15th St., North Vancouver. Zarowny, a longtime teacher of First Nations, helped develop the Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the formal apology of the Canadian government and Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Process. Info: 604-990-8372 or www.cfuwnvwv.vcn.bc.ca.
The Inuit sub-commission of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission launched a tour of Baffin Island communities Feb. 7.
The community forums begin today in Pond Inlet before heading on to Clyde River, Pangnirtung and wrapping up in Qikitarjuaq Feb. 16.
Jennifer Hunt-Poitras and Robert Watt, co-chairs of the Inuit sub-commission, will host the public forums where former students can talk about their residential school experiences.
“The commission will focus its efforts on getting to as many Inuit communities as possible to collect statements from survivors and their families,” Watt said in a TRC news release.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is in Whitehorse this week.
The commission is letting anyone who has been affected by residential schools record their stories.
The private statement-gathering sessions will be held Monday through Friday. They run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day at the Goldrush Inn.
"I'm not going to tell my story because I've heard my story a lot today," former residential school student Marlene Bear said, Thursday.
Bear was one of many former students and family members of former students to speak up during three days of sharing panels at the Prince Albert Indian Métis Friendship Centre this week. They gathered as part of the Canada-wide effort to uncover the truth of the residential school system, through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Bear's comment around a collective story rang true throughout the three days, with the same basic frame of a story told time and time again - a framework with distinctly unique experiences within.
The following are a series of quotes from this week's sharing panels, in an attempt to share the collective residential school story using the words of those affected by the system.
Despite physical, mental, spiritual, and sexual abuse that came out of the residential school system for many of its victims, the aboriginal spirit has persevered.
"Kill the Indian in the child and there'll be no more Indian problem," residential school survivor Richard Pelletier said, citing Canada's motivation for opening up residential schools. "That policy failed, though it did cause a lot of misery."
Pelletier was one of many to speak during the third of three days of storytelling focused on the residential school system at the Prince Albert Indian Métis Friendship Centre, Thursday.
The storytelling was part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's national efforts - a group mandated with uncovering individual stories about the residential school system.
When she was very young, Roberta Price was taken from her home on Number 1 Reserve in Nanaimo, B.C. and sent to live with a white foster family.
She was one of tens of thousands of aboriginal children who were taken away from their families to live in residential schools or with non-aboriginal families as part of a federal government program to assimilate them into mainstream Canadian society.
Looking back today, 50 years later, Price says she went from being a happy, healthy six-year-old to being depressed, anxious and afraid.
The huge legal settlement negotiated for thousands of former students of native residential schools is becoming more clouded by questions.
The federal government has apologized for the residential schools program and reached an agreement in 2007 to make payments to former students.
But now some say they are being mistreated by the lawyers who were supposed to help them claim compensation.
CBC News reports the National Residential School Survivors' Society, representing about 32,000 former students, is asking provincial law societies to step up discipline of lawyers who allegedly take advantage of their clients.
A Project of Heart initiative that netted a teacher national attention started with one student.
Sylvia Smith, along with her Grade 10 class, was studying residential schools. For at least one student, the history of the institutions and their lasting impact on Aboriginals in Canada was new.
Finding the textbook inadequate, Smith said the student delved further into the topic, uncovering the history of assimilation and physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
The student was appalled, said Smith.
“History for many students is a pretty boring subject and I guess I found out pretty quickly that it’s not boring if you bring out the stuff that’s never been taught before,” she said.
Former students of native residential schools say they are being mistreated by lawyers who are supposed to help them claim federal compensation, but are instead taking their award money in some cases.
The National Residential School Survivors' Society, which represents about 32,000 former students across Canada, is calling on law societies to do more to discipline lawyers who are taking advantage of those who are applying for compensation.
Society spokesman Ted Quewezance said some survivors are being told their claims are bogus, while others are having problems with the lawyers they have hired.
"We get complaints regarding lawyers — lawyers cherry-picking certain cases, only taking cases which are lucrative, and denying the little people," Quewezance told reporters Thursday in Winnipeg.
Des victimes des pensionnats autochtones auraient été abusées par des avocats peu scrupuleux, selon la Société nationale des survivants des pensionnats autochtones qui revendique que soit réexaminé l'accord conclu avec le gouvernement en mai 2006.
L'association, mise sur pied par des survivants de ces pensionnats en 2004, a demandé jeudi un rapport indépendant sur la Convention de règlement relative aux pensionnats indiens, entrée en vigueur en septembre 2007.
It's the largest-ever compensation deal in Canadian history -- but groups that represent thousands of aboriginal people have come forward to say it's flawed.
The National Residential School Survivors Society is calling for a judicial review of the $5-billion Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA).
That means claimants might have to go back to court to reopen the deal.
The man known for being the NHL’s first aboriginal player has opened up about horrible abuse he experienced at a residential school in Saskatchewan.
Fred Sasakamoose spoke on the third and final day of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's community hearing in Prince Albert.
“I feel that I could be able to talk now,” said Sasakamoose, who dressed for 11 games with the Chicago Blackhawks during the 1950s.
We Were Children is a made in Manitoba docudrama that examines the experiences of two Residential School students.
The executive producer of We Were the Children is Lisa Meeches, an award winning Aboriginal filmmaker whose story is one being featured this week on Trailbreakers (airing February 2 at 1 p.m. on Radio One)
CBC Manitoba reporter Sheila North Wilson was invited to assist in the production of We Were Children, being assigned the challenging task of translating material in the script from English to Cree.
It isn’t only those directly involved in the residential school system that have suffered as a result of the system’s various forms of abuse.
“I didn’t go to the residential school, but it sure affected my generation,” local woman Denise Choumont said Wednesday.
Choumont joined many others that have been affected by the residential school system by speaking up during the second of a three-day Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada sharing panel at the Prince Albert Indian Métis Friendship Centre.
It was a solemn time at the Prince Albert Indian and Metis Friendship Centre today, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings got underway.
These three-day hearings are an opportunity for all Canadians, both aboriginal and non-aboriginal, to learn more about and bear witness to the legacy of the residential school system.
Dozens of people turned out to either share their stories, or to give support as others talked of both physical and sexual abuse.
One of the commissioners hearing the stories of residential school survivors says the information will be preserved to ensure it is never forgotten.
Marie Wilson says part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's mandate is to establish a national research centre to contain all that is known about the dark period in Canadian history.
The federal commission started its hearings Tuesday in Prince Albert, Sask.
SUGAR FALLS -- Prairie Ink restaurant at McNally Robinson bookstore was the scene of a launch Thursday evening for Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story, by writer David Alexander Robertson and illustrator Scott B. Henderson. They've collaborated on a four-book graphic-novel series, Generation 7. Robertson wrote Stone and The Life of Helen Betty Osborne. The Swampy Cree writer said he is educating aboriginal youth about their history "to try to eliminate racism, sexism and indifference."
Spotted: Actress Tina Keeper, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, author and assistant professor in the departments of English and native studies at the University of Manitoba, Sandra DeLaronde, executive director of the Helen Betty Osborne Memorial Foundation, Ted Fontaine, elder and author The Broken Circle, a memoir of his days in residential schools, and Catherine Gerbasi, who's with Portage & Main Press.
Like the U.S., Canada allowed religious denominations to run these schools. Canadian officials have been dealing with hundreds of abuse cases up into the 1980s. Currently, the Canadian government is in cover-up mode.
In the last decade, indigenous people here have spoken of children lost in the past at Indian boarding schools. They have asserted the existence of dump areas on the campuses of Indian boarding schools in the U.S., including Haskell. It is a shame that bones will most likely be unearthed in the process of road building. Such is the tragedy in a tone-deaf society.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission returns to Whitehorse next week to give residential school survivors another chance to tell their stories.
Next week two statement gatherers – one from the Yukon and one from the Northwest Territories – will be at the Gold Rush Inn to document the stories individually.
Last May the Truth and Reconciliation Commission held public hearings in Whitehorse, Watson Lake and Dawson City. But unlike those events, this time the sessions are private.
There will be no commissioner and no big gathering.
Instead, two private hotel rooms will be available for individual and private hearings. Survivors will have their statements recorded by video or audio. Support workers will be on hand during the sessions. They will provide participants with information for further aftercare as well.
There will be some very tragic and disturbing stories shared in Prince Albert this week.
Former residential school students will have an opportunity to talk about their experiences, publicly or privately.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings will take place starting tomorrow morning at the Indian and Metis Friendship Centre. Three days have been set for the hearings in Prince Albert.
The first day of hearings for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission began at the Indian and Metis Friendship Centre in Prince Albert on Tuesday.
It's a time for any former residential school students to tell their stories, either in public or private, and dozens showed up to hear from others and be heard themselves.
Promised a decent education, the residential school system not only failed to teach Andrew Quewezance anything of worth, but it filled him with hate.
Quewezance was one of a handful of residential school survivors to share his story during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission sharing panel at the Prince Albert Indian Métis Friendship Centre, Tuesday - the first of three days' worth of story sharing.
"You can't learn anything in fear, shame," Quewezance told the commission and a gymnasium packed with interested members of the public. "You're in fear every day and night when you go to school."