"This serious situation requires particular attention, directed principally toward improved theological formation," the visitors found, stressing that dissent from the church's teaching authority would only hinder its renewal.
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Giving chronic and violent sexual offenders a sentencing break if they happen to be aboriginal, as the Supreme Court of Canada outlined on Friday, will accomplish little but to put aboriginal communities, especially women and children, at greater risk.
Federal law requires that courts do their utmost to keep aboriginals out of jail, yet the over-representation of aboriginals in federal and provincial jails grows worse (native admissions to jail rose four per cent from 2001 to 2006, while overall admissions declined nine per cent). The Supreme Court says that other courts have failed to apply or understand its liberal ruling in the 1999 case of R v. Gladue. But the courts are faced with far too many sad, horrible and dangerous stories to end the over-representation on their own.
Les Métis réunis à Saskatoon pour leur première conférence nationale sur les pensionnats autochtones affirment avoir souffert autant que les membres des Premières Nations, sans avoir reçu ni excuses, ni compensations.
Le gouvernement fédéral s'excusait officiellement en 2008 au sujet des pensionnats indiens. Nombre de Métis de la Sasktachewan ont toutefois été exclus du processus national d'indemnisation, puisque leur pensionnat était sous responsabilité provinciale.
Ils souhaitent maintenant que les gouvernements provinciaux et fédéral remédient à la situation et qu'ils cessent de se renvoyer la balle.
Métis people gathered in Saskatoon to talk about the legacy of residential schools and the impact the experience had on their lives.
"We went through a lot there and we'll be discussing some of that," Clem Chartier, president of the Métis National Council, said at the opening of the gathering.
Despite the similarities to First Nations' experience with Residential Schools, Métis say the federal government has not treated the two groups in a similar way.
For one thing, Robert Doucette, president of the Métis Nation - Saskatchewan, said there should be an apology.
"It's unfinished business," Doucette said. "And until there is a direct apology made to Métis survivors, that process of reconciliation can't go forward," Doucette said.
The Independent Assessment Process (IAP) for victims of abuse at residential schools is touring Nunavik. Aboriginal people who suffered abuse can meet with representatives to talk about their claim for compensation. You can find out more about the IAP and the full schedule at: www.iap-pei.ca (Website in both English and French).
To most people, Crazy Eights is a card game they played as a kid, like Go Fish.
It has a different meaning for Vancouver's aspiring filmmakers. To them, Crazy8s is a competition that gives you a crack at making a first-rate movie - albeit a short one.
The 13th annual Crazy8s competition saw 118 budding Martin Scorseses enter this year. Six were selected to make films, handed $1,000 and given eight days to put together a finished 10-minute product.
The results will be shown at a gala event Friday night at the Centre for the Performing Arts.
Doreen Manuel is one of two native directors picked for the final six. Her movie These Walls deals with a tragic remnant of the residential schools that many native Canadians were forced to attend.
When you read the childhood histories of Manasie Ipeelee and Frank Ladue, the two men at the heart of Friday's Supreme Court of Canada judgment, the experience makes you appreciate why Parliament originally passed a law giving special legal treatment for aboriginal convicts: Before they became monsters, both men were children who never had any real chance in life.
When Section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code came into being in 1996, it originally was interpreted narrowly. That changed with the Supreme Court's 1999 decision in R. v. Gladue, in which the Justices appointed to themselves a broad social-justice mandate. Now, every aboriginal defendant presents a "Gladue report" at his sentencing hearing. Aboriginal Justice Strategy programs have proliferated. R. v. Ipeelee is part of this trend.
In his dissent Justice Marshall Rothsteinhas sensibly reminded us that there should be limits to all this - that in the case of serial rapists and thugs, protecting real innocent lives is more important than abstract social-justice principles; and that career sadists do not become reformable simply because they happen to be aboriginal.
Stephen Harper's government prides itself on getting tough on crime, yet has spent too much of its time pursuing the wrong targets - such as soft-drug users. If the Prime Minister wants to help protect citizens, and especially aboriginals, from truly violent criminals, reforming Section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code so as to exclude longterm offenders would be a sensible, and popular, path.
I accepted the public invitation to attend the Truth and Reconciliation event hosted by Cowichan Tribes on March 15. Attendees heard personal accounts of the impact of residential schools upon them and how their experiences have had ongoing repercussions both personally and between generations.
There were tears of deep sadness, anger rage and bitterness. There were confessions of silent repression of experiences, of sham and suicidal thoughts. There were also amazing statements of faith and strength of spirit.
“ALIVE WITH BREATH” IS AN EMPOWERING MULTI-MEDIA INSTALLATION BY ABORIGINAL FILM DIRECTOR JULES KOOSTACHIN. PHOTOGRAPHS, AUDIO RECORDINGS, VIDEO CLIPS AND SYMBOLIC PERSONAL ITEMS WILL COMPRISE THE EXHIBIT.
“ALIVE WITH BREATH” CELEBRATES THE LIVES OF MUSHKEGOWUK (CREE) ELDERS BEFORE THEY WERE SENT TO RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS.
On June 11, 2008, thousands of Canadians from across the country witnessed, along with former students and Aboriginal leaders, the Prime Minister stand in the House of Commons and apologize for the abuse experienced by many who attended Indian Residential Schools and the impact this system had on Aboriginal languages and culture.
On October 27, 2011 Minister Duncan announced that the Government of Canada will commemorate the legacy of Indian Residential Schools through a permanent installation of stained glass artwork in Centre Block on Parliament Hill.
Le 11 juin 2008, des milliers de Canadiens de partout au pays, ainsi que les anciens élèves des pensionnats et les dirigeants autochtones, ont vu le premier ministre s'adresser à la Chambre des communes et présenter des excuses pour les sévices subis par bon nombre des élèves ayant fréquenté un pensionnat indien ainsi que les répercussions du régime des pensionnats sur les peuples autochtones, sur leurs langues et sur leur culture.
Le 27 octobre 2011, le ministre Duncan a annoncé que le gouvernement du Canada commémorerait l'épisode des pensionnats indiens en installant un vitrail permanent dans l'édifice du Centre de la Colline du Parlement.
The Canadian personality is in some ways immature.
Canadians embrace Canadian things we’re proud of, such as the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876, Banting and Best’s discovery of insulin in 1922, and the creation of Trivial Pursuit in 1979 by Chris Haney and Scott Abbott.
But Canadians – our own Jewish community included – generally don’t take ownership of the atrocities committed in 132 Canadian residential schools from 1840 to 1996, when Canadian racism was at its peak and many of our government officials, security forces and church “leaders” terrorized our aboriginal peoples.
To be Canadian is to be compassionate. To be Canadian is to be destructive. But it’s also to be much more. Either way, pledge “Never again” to residential schools. Embrace our history in its entirety and ensure a better future for our native people.
The Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling last week that confirmed aboriginals who break the law should get special treatment in court is a perfect example of why Parliament should never enact vague laws that are open to judges to interpret.
Because invariably, they get twisted and mangled by judicial-activist judges into something Parliament may never have intended.
The Supreme Court has decided in two rulings — last week’s and an earlier decision in 1998 called R. vs. Gladue — that it means if you’re aboriginal and you break the law, the court should show you some leniency. Why? Because it’s important that the courts consider the historical wrongdoings aboriginal people have endured through colonialism, displacement and residential schools, Canada’s top court ruled.
And contrary to the rulings of some lower courts in recent years, the provision applies no matter how serious the crime, last week’s ruling states.
She's a convicted drug dealer with a tragic background that came from growing up on a Manitoba reserve. And she is exactly the type of criminal Canada's highest court says should be in line for a reduced penalty based on her upbringing.
Rita Parenteau was supposed to be sentenced on Monday after pleading guilty to having a large quantity of cocaine and morphine inside her Winnipeg home. The Crown is seeking a penitentiary term, while her lawyer wants a conditional sentence that allows her to remain free in the community.
But the case has now been adjourned indefinitely because justice officials concede there hasn't been a thorough examination of her native ancestry.
Justice sources told the Free Press this single case shows how careful officials are going to be, especially in light of the edict from the country's High Court. The result may be an already slow-moving justice system becoming even more backlogged as the wait for reports grows longer and delays are inevitable.
The Supreme Court said last week some judges have failed in their responsibility to probe the background of an aboriginal criminal based on a 1998 case called Regina v. Gladue. In that case, the court cited the over-representation of aboriginal offenders who are behind bars and called for alternatives to be explored based on their history.
A ruling Friday from the Supreme Court of Canada that said the back-ground of violent aboriginal offenders should have a bearing on sentencing likely won't change the landscape of aboriginal crime in Canada.
The country's top court weighed in on the Gladue principle - a directive from Parliament that asks judges to recognize that a history of colonization, residential schools and cultural repression has affected generations of indigenous men and women, leading to a severe over-representation of aboriginal people in Canada's prisons. The court applied the intent of that principle on previous cases, one in Ontario and another in B.C.
Dean Linklater is a residential school survivor, one of many at a recent event in Winnipeg where survivors of the Holocaust and of the residential school system shared their stories of pain and healing.
“I think that only people who have been through such events or trauma can come up with the solutions they need to heal,” said Linklater at the event, hosted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Robbie Waisman, who spent six years as a child in the Buchenwald concentration camp, agreed, saying that “one heals better to share the pain with others”.
APTN National News reporter Meagan Fiddler was at the event, and has the story.
(This text introduces a video of 2:35 in duration.)
I have found the general outrage to the sentencing of Graham James for the sexual abuse of young hockey players to be so different than the defensive, blaming reaction that I have observed regarding the massive church-and government-sponsored sexual abuse of aboriginal children in residential schools in this country.
I hear statements, which I agree with, about how such abuse has wrecked these players' lives, leading to addictions and destructive behaviours, etc. Hopefully, there will be some increased awareness about the collective destruction that has been perpetrated upon aboriginal peoples as a whole by hundreds of Graham James-like perpetrators. Can we all be outraged about that? I'm not so certain!
Bob Hughes, Regina Hughes is spokesperson for the Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism.
The Supreme Court of Canada has issued an iron-clad edict that sentencing judges must search out lenient or creative sentences for aboriginal offenders that recognize the oppressive cultural conditions many have grown up with.
The court said that some judges have mistakenly shied away from probing the historical circumstances of aboriginal offenders. It said the result is that the promise of a 1998 decision, Regina v Gladue, that mandated distinctive treatment for aboriginal offenders based on sensitivity to their history has not been realized; prisons remain packed with a disproportionate number of aboriginal inmates.
Judge LeBel said that special “Gladue reports” should be prepared for all aboriginal offenders that specify details of their backgrounds.
“When sentencing an aboriginal offender, courts must take judicial notice of such matters as the history of colonialism, displacement, and residential schools and how that history continues to translate into lower educational attainment, lower incomes, higher unemployment, higher rates of substance abuse and suicide, and, of course, higher levels of incarceration for aboriginal peoples,” he said.
Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today welcomed the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision on Ipeelee, which upholds the 1998 Gladue decision regarding sentencing of Aboriginal people.
“We commend the Supreme Court of Canada for this decision, one which instructs judges to craft ‘fair and balanced sentences’ as a central part of our justice system,” National Chief Atleo said. “The decision recognizes the deep trauma still experienced by our peoples through decades of policies and practices such as residential schools that attacked our languages, cultures and families. This ruling upholds the principles of fairness and proportionality in sentencing.”
Judges must carefully consider flexible sentences for Aboriginal offenders to avoid violating the law, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in an anticipated Aboriginal law decision today, noting the principles established in R v. Gladue have not been met.
Releasing its ruling in R. v. Ipeelee, a pair of cases that explore the issue of differential treatment for Aboriginal offenders highlighted by the court in Gladue, the Supreme Court found factors like cultural oppression, poverty, and a history of abuse in the residential school system must factor heavily into sentencing Aboriginal offenders.
Sometimes the victims of crime are treated as the court's secondary or tertiary consideration, an illogical ordering that can compound the root societal problem of violent crime and expose those same victims or new ones to offenders who serve too lenient sentences and then reoffend.
This unfortunate tendency was highlighted Friday when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled 6-1 that when sentencing an aboriginal offender, courts must take into account "such matters as colonialism, displacement and residential schools and how that history continues to translate into lower educational attainment, lower incomes, higher unemployment, higher rates of substance abuse and suicide, and of course higher levels of incarceration for aboriginal people."
In a 6-1 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada endorsed the widest possible interpretation of section 718.2(e) of Canada's Criminal Code, which requires judges to consider reasonable alternatives to imprisonment for all offenders, "with particular attention to the circumstances of aboriginal offenders."
Ever since Parliament introduced it in 1996, it has not been perfectly clear how and when this special consideration ought to be applied. In the case that set the legal precedent in 1999, the Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision that it did not apply off-reserve. In the current case, it was argued that, unlike in substantive crimes, it did not apply as forcefully in sentencing for violations of long-term supervision orders.
Friday's decision eliminates the uncertainty. Calling it an "indispensible sentencing tool," the court decided it ought to be applied in every case, even technical violations of supervision orders, taking into account the history of colonialism, displacement and residential schools, and their lingering effects on educational attainment, income, unemployment, substance abuse and suicide, and the disproportionately high levels of incarceration for aboriginal people.
In a 6-1 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on two cases of Aboriginal men with lengthy criminal records, including, sexual assault and thefts. Both men were heavy drinkers, the court noted, and both breached conditions of their release when they were still under long-term supervision orders.
In sentencing the men for having breached the conditions of their long-term supervision orders, judges had to take into account circumstances that are unique to Aboriginals, such as "the history of colonialism, displacement and residential schools and how that history continues to translate into lower educational attainment, lower incomes, higher unemployment, higher rates of substance abuse and suicide, and of course higher levels of incarceration for Aboriginal peoples," the court ruled.
A Supreme Court decision Friday is difficult to read without getting a rising sense of dread over the federal government's determination to impose more minimum sentences.
In a 6-1 decision, Canada's highest court unambiguously ruled that, wherever possible, judges have the responsibility to "take judicial notice of such matters as the history of colonialism, displacement, and residential schools and how that history continues to translate into lower educational attainment, lower incomes, higher unemployment, higher rates of substance abuse and suicide, and of course higher levels of incarceration for aboriginal peoples."
In its latest ruling, the court said that, "Sentencing judges must have sufficient manoeuvrability to tailor sentences to the circumstances of the particular offence and the particular offender." That clearly can't be done when Parliament ties the hands of judges with a growing list of mandatory minimum sentences.
But even with the mandate given to the judiciary in the Gladue decision, the fierce public backlash from ill-informed people who declare the ruling to be a ticket to race-based sentencing (something Friday's ruling makes clear has no basis in fact) and the inability of Canada's most disadvantaged citizens to scrape up the wherewithal to press for these rights has meant that the incarceration rates of Natives has worsened since 1998.
Q.1. Qu'est-ce que le Processus d'évaluation indépendant?
R.1. La Convention de règlement relative aux pensionnats indiens prévoit un mode alternatif de règlement des conflits amélioré appelé Processus d'évaluation indépendant (PEI). Le PEI est la seule voie offerte aux anciens élèves pour déposer une plainte pour des sévices sexuels ou physiques, à moins qu'il se soit formellement retiré de la Convention de règlement. Les indemnités seront payées en totalité (100 %) par le gouvernement du Canada, quelle que soit la situation, à la suite de la validation de la réclamation par un adjudicateur indépendant.
There is a significant value to the sessions at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings held in Duncan last week, according to Commissioner Marie Wilson.
The commission itself is made up of three people who reflect the gamut of the residential school cycle.
One of the commissioners attended residential school and another is the child of someone who attended such a school, while Wilson herself is a non-native but married for decades to a member of the Dene people of the Northwest Territories who attended a residential school.
She told the crowd of about 250 people in Duncan that she knows first hand how difficult it can be to open up about one's experiences at residential school. Her own husband didn't talk about it until they had been married for 15 years, Wilson said.
I recently attended the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's regional hearings held at the Quw'utsun' Cultural Centre in Duncan.
This was a profoundly moving event in which much pain was publicly shared by the survivors of abuse experienced while they attended the government-funded and church-run residential schools.
As an Anglican priest (ordained after the schools were closed) I have been active in the church in recent years when the abuse that took place in the schools finally came to light and at a time when the Anglican Church of Canada acknowledged its role in running the schools and offered an apology for the reprehensible abuse which took place in the schools under their guidance.
To what degree should the history of aboriginal people in Canada factor into how courts sentence violent offenders? That's the complex question that will be addressed Friday as the Supreme Court of Canada weighs in on the controversial Gladue principle with two precedent-setting cases.
The principle, a directive from Parliament, asks judges to recognize that a history of colonization, residential schools and cultural repression has affected generations of indigenous men and women, leading to a severe over-representation of aboriginal people in Canada's prisons.
Up to now, judges have seemingly been confused as to how the Gladue principle applies in serious and violent criminal cases, such as sexual assault and murder, said Jonathan Rudin of Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto, which is an intervener in one of the cases.
Q.1. What is the Independent Assessment Process?
A.1. The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) provides for an enhanced alternative dispute resolution process called the Independent Assessment Process (IAP). The IAP is the only way a former student may pursue a sexual or serious physical abuse claim, unless he or she has formally opted out of the IRSSA. Compensation through the IAP will be paid at 100% by the government in all cases, following validation of the claim by an independent adjudicator.
A young girl, dressed in a drab dress and pinafore, stands in the middle of a pool of water staring forward impassively, hands crossed on her chest. To one side of her is a cascade of water known as Sugar Falls. On the other side is a stretch of still water, behind which looms a two-story building, its roof surmounted by a cross-crowned cupola. It is a residential school run by the Roman Catholic Church. This scene is the front cover of David Alexander Robertson’s 40-page graphic novel, Sugar Falls. Although written as a work of fiction, it is based on the true story of Betty Ross, an elder from Manitoba’s Cross Lake First Nation.
This past February, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which is investigating the impact of residential schools, released its interim report. The report detailed 20 recommendations, three of which deal with education. The Commission recommends that each provincial and territorial government review its curriculum materials to assess what is currently being taught about residential schools, that they develop age-appropriate materials to incorporate discussion about residential schools in public school classrooms, and that they develop public education campaigns to inform the general public about the history and impact of residential schools.
There are already resources available for those who wish to begin including this topic in their classrooms. For example, in a 2009 article in Canadian Teacher Magazine, Larry Loyie discusses his experience at residential school and suggests ways to discuss the history and legacy of residential schooling in the classroom. The Government of Canada also has a list of Educational Resources and Lesson Plans and Activities at the Aboriginal Canada Portal.
The most impressive resource I have found is the website “Where are the Children? Healing the Legacy of Residential Schools” offers an interactive way to learn about residential schooling, aimed at high school aged students and life-long learners. On the site, students can explore the history of Aboriginal schooling in Canada, locate the schools on a map, watch video testimony of residential school survivors, and read textbooks designed for students in Grades 9-10, 11-12, and lifelong learners. It includes a teacher’s guide. This website is amazing, and is well worth a visit.
The wounds of the past run deep and merely scar over. It’s the emotional and mental turmoil suffered by many First Nations people while attending Federal government mandated residential schools that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada hopes to shed some light on, and through these efforts allow some semblance of healing to begin.
Commissioner and honorary chief of the Maskwacis Cree Wilton Littlechild spoke on the commission’s efforts to members of the Camrose Rotary Club March 12.
“This is a sad story that is probably one of the most unknown stories in our country, the residential school legacy,” said Littlechild, who added 15,000 lawsuits were filed over allegations of physical, mental and sexual abuse from experiences at residential schools.
“The judges in their wisdom decided to try and settle the cases, so they asked the plaintiffs and the defendants to come together to see if they could resolve the issue.”
Women who gave up babies for adoption between the 1940s and the 1980s are now lining up to sue somebody. They may be accompanied by the fathers who weren’t consulted, as well as by the babies who grew to adulthood not knowing their natural parents.
They’ll be joining a lot of others who have sought justice for old wrongs – Japanese who were relocated during the Second World War and Ukrainians who were sent to camps in the First World War, Sikhs and Chinese who were not mistreated in Canada but were wronged by being kept out, sexually abused boys of the Mount Cashel Orphanage,
The list is long and may get longer as descendants of other groups ponder their ancient wrongs. Those seeking redress of historical grievances typically want some combination of three things: an apology for past wrongs, public recognition of their suffering and (often but not always) financial compensation. How to react to such claims? Those seeking elected office will inevitably treat them as political issues, ideal for mobilizing new support groups, but is there a more philosophical approach?
Painter Robert Burke is returning to his home town of Fort Smith to share a unique slice of the community's history through his powerful expressionist exhibit, "The Silent Breed," which will be on display at the Northern Life Museum all of April.
The show, featuring several large paintings depicting scenes interpreted from 68 year-old Burke's childhood growing up in the community and at residential school, is a visual exploration of the dynamic between black American soldiers and the Aboriginal community during the 1940s construction of the Alaskan highway.
Burke was one of the children resulting from the short-term relationships formed between Dene women and African-American soldiers during that time period - a group of kids the artist has recently labelled "the silent breed" because of their lack of clear cultural place and identity.
A Vatican-appointed investigation of the church in Ireland recognized serious shortcomings in the handling of accusations of the sexual abuse of minors, yet found that bishops, clergy and lay faithful are doing an "excellent" job in creating safe environments for children today.
The investigators found that Irish bishops need to update their child protection guidelines, establish "more consistent admission criteria" for seminarians, and formulate policies on how best to deal with clergy and religious accused of abuse.
In a summary of findings from the probe, formally known as an apostolic visitation, the investigators also warned of a "fairly widespread" tendency among priests, religious and laity to hold unspecified unorthodox views.
"This serious situation requires particular attention, directed principally toward improved theological formation," the visitors found, stressing that dissent from the church's teaching authority would only hinder its renewal.
I grew up in Saskatchewan, unaware of the residential school system. I know we must educate our children about it so it can never happen again.
As a resident of the Cowichan Valley, I must begin meeting my First Nations neighbours and searching for the lovely women who welcomed me to their session and put their arms around me as I wept over the young children lost to us and lost to a real chance in life in Canada.
If tears can heal, then they truly are sacred.
They have done what is necessary as the Cowichan people spoke their truth in March 2012.
It wasn’t all sunshine and kittens.
But most who attended the Cowichan stop of the Truth and Reconciliation conference last week were optimistic it marked only the beginning of a new chapter to rectify the cultural catastrophe forced upon First Nations people here and across the country.
Qu'est-ce que la commémoration?
La commémoration est une composante de la Convention de règlement relative aux pensionnats indiens qui appuie les activités nationales et régionales visant à honorer et à commémorer les anciens élèves des pensionnats indiens, leurs familles et leurs collectivités, à leur rendre hommage, à informer la population sur les expériences qu'ils ont vécues et à perpétuer leur souvenir.
Les activités de commémoration tireront profit des solides efforts de réconciliation déjà déployés par le gouvernement du Canada, comme les excuses historiques présentées en 2008 par le premier ministre, le vitrail permanent dans l'édifice du Centre de la Colline du Parlement et les gestes de réconciliation du gouvernement du Canada lors des trois activités nationales de la Commission de vérité et réconciliation (CVR).
What is Commemoration?
Commemoration is a component of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement that supports regional and national activities that honour, educate, remember, memorialize and/or pay tribute to former Indian Residential School (IRS) students, their families and their communities.
Commemoration activities will build upon an existing strong foundation of reconciliation efforts by the Government of Canada, such as the historic Apology by the Prime Minister in 2008; the permanent installation of stained glass artwork in Centre Block on Parliament Hill; and the gestures of reconciliation offered by the Government of Canada at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's three national events.
Shortly after the much discussed, and rightly much derided Graham James two-year sentence for sexual assault, I had a conversation with a journalist who is ghost writing the memoir of a sexual abuse survivor. Why, she asked me, do these abusers get such light sentences?
In Canada, the work of pursuing the sexual crimes of the past and preventing these crimes in the future has been a stop-and-go effort.
The abuse of children first appeared as a public issue in the context of other crimes and injustices, and were addressed in a similar manner.
One particularly chilling disclosure was the Jericho Hill Provincial School for the Deaf, in Vancouver. An investigation of Jericho Hill’s forty-two year history, led by Justice Thomas Berger, confirmed widespread abuse and noted the “increased vulnerability” of children who “usually did not have the ability or the means to communicate … about sexual abuse.” The Jericho Hill School lawsuit, L.R v. British Columbia, was joined by others — such as Bazley v. Curry and Jacobi v. Griffiths — in establishing the Canadian legal precedents invoked during the later Indian residential school sexual abuse trials.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development is reminding former students of Indian Residential Schools that the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) deadline to submit applications is September 19, 2012. In accordance with the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA), applications will not be accepted after this deadline.
The ability to identify and reflect upon your thoughts and feelings is probably not the most essential skill a heavy equipment operator needs to cultivate. But Bryan Fontaine, who is training to become one, can see the benefit.
"You're going to be operating machines where you can crush a man, and if you go to work angry, it's not a good thing," the 39-year-old Winnipegger says during a smoke break outside the United Food & Commercial Workers building, where he's taking a work readiness workshop.
Better to vent in your journal, Fontaine has found. "It's just you. There's no judgment there."
PaperFriend Workbooks are guided journals ($15 each) with specific themes and "writing feeds," or prompts, designed to take the user down "a healing-focused journal writing path," according to Pen to Paper Journaling (www.pen-to-paper.com). The company sells them and offers workshops, retreats and coaching.
Here is one current title:
Journaling Through Being a Child of a Residential School Survivor
Affaires autochtones et Développement du Nord Canada rappelle aux anciens élèves des pensionnats indiens que la date limite afin de présenter une demande dans le cadre du Processus d'évaluation indépendant (PEI) est le 19 septembre 2012. Conformément à la Convention de règlement relative aux pensionnats indiens , (site Web non disponible en français) les demandes ne seront pas acceptées après cette date limite.
Grade 8 students at a Brampton school have created artwork to honour the memory of Aboriginal children who died in Canada’s notorious residential schools.
The art was created as part of Project of Heart, a national initiative started to commemorate the thousands of children who died in the church-run, government-funded schools.
Small pieces of wooden tile are decorated to represent a child at a particular school. The tiles become part of a moving art display that can travel around the community or country to raise awareness about the historical and ongoing plight of Canada’s First Nations in hopes of inspiring Canadians to take action.
Students at Williams Parkway Senior Public School decorated more than 100 pieces for children who attended Brantford’s Mush Hole residential school.
The story of forgiveness, the joy of reconciliation, the sense of burdens lifting and freedom, was among many shared at the ROQ (Region of Ontario and Quebec) Youth Symposium held February 23-26 in Ottawa. Gathering Nations International, a non-denominational Christian ministry founded by Kenny and Louise Blacksmith, sponsored the event.
Gathering Nations has been at the forefront of a movement of reconciliation among First Nations, Inuit and Metis people, and reconciliation between Canada's Aboriginal peoples and non-Aboriginal peoples. Among its efforts was the 2010 National Forgiven Summit that gathered several thousand Aboriginal people, many of them Indian Residential School survivors or children of survivors, to respond to Prime Minister Harper's historic 2008 Apology in the House of Commons for the government's role in the schools.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has wrapped up its hearings in Port Alberni, marking a key moment in healing for residential school survivors and their families.
"It was a welcome process, although I understand it's not the whole solution," NTC president Cliff Atleo said.
He added it was evident by the number of live hits the webcast had and the number of countries that tuned in how important this process was.
Former students of St. Paul’s and St. Mary’s Indian residential schools and their descendants gathered with leaders to plan Truth and Reconciliation commemoration activities on the Blood Reserve. The planning took place Feb. 21 and 22 in Lethbridge and involved Truth and Reconciliation Commission member Marie Wilson. Project planning sessions included Blackfoot signage, history book, exhibit project, oral history, time capsule and monument. Participants also had the opportunity to share their residential school experiences.
For United Church minister and former Member of Parliament David MacDonald, “there is no larger conspiracy of silence” than the one surrounding Canada’s residential schools.
MacDonald serves as special advisor to the United Church Committee on Indigenous Justice and Residential Schools and was once a Progressive Conservative MP in the Prince Edward Island riding of Prince (later Egmont), first elected in 1965.
He attended the Truth and Reconciliation public hearings March 12 and 13 at Maht Mahs Gym in Port Alberni to listen to the testimony of residential school survivors.
As a tutor for international high school students, I have spent uncounted hours helping them get through Social Studies 10, early Canadian history.
When the textbook mentions residential schools, that's all it does: It mentions, it delicately touches upon, it takes up no more than a few lines, then moves on.
That's it for the nightmare of abuse suffered by a whole nation of people and their innocent children, both at the time and since, by not acknowledging this rape.
For Grace Winter, the effects of residential school on First Nations youth are still very apparent.
Winter, the director and founder of Seven Youth Media Network, told an audience at the Healing the Legacy conference during Lakehead University’s Aboriginal Awareness Week that she constantly sees the intergenerational effects of residential schools while doing interviews and in the writings of the magazine’s contributors.
“Every time we speak to youth it always comes back to Residential Schools,” Winter said. “Whether they learned not to be like their parents who were impacted by Residential Schools, or whether they are still dealing with the impacts of Residential Schools themselves.”
Seven Magazine has spent the past year exploring those intergeneration effects. They put much of what they learned on display at Lakehead last week, in part to help Aboriginal students continue their own understanding of the issues they deal with and in part to help non-Aboriginal young people understand the impacts that their First Nations peers are dealing with.
As the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission visits Cowichan, there is also some good news for Indian day school survivors.
Joan Jack, the lawyer who has been acting for this group of First Nations people who were left out of the residential school settlement, circulated the announcement March 14.
Her email stated, "Aaniin everyone: I am emailing you from the floor of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) where the chiefs just passed a resolution yesterday to formally support this class action on behalf of everyone in Canada! I am so dang grateful and excited!"
The federal government has decided to take the Newfoundland and Labrador residential school survivor’s class-action lawsuit to trial.
Steven Cooper of Ahsltrom, Wright, Oliver and Cooper is one of the lawyers representing the residential school survivors in this province.
He says the federal government has decided not to appeal the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal’s decision to approve the class-action.
The court made the decision to green light the lawsuit back in December.
The anger was palpable Thursday as 64-year-old Louis Moses Lucas sat between supporters and disclosed his abuse by priests and nuns.
"Residential schools were nothing but the rape of our people.
They were sexual terrorists," Lucas told commissioner Marie Wilson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission at hearings.
"It was never a school to me. It was a jail," said Lucas, blaming the Catholic Church and federal government for not helping the 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children in Canada who were taken from their families and placed in residential schools.
Emotions ran high as about 250 people, both aboriginal and non-aboriginal, listened to harrowing stories, many about the Catholicrun Kuper Island Indian Residential School near Chemainus.
The stories are horrifying , but a generation of residential school survivors are ready to speak out.
Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has continued its tour of Vancouver Island offering a safe place to speak out in the Cowichan Valley. Today hundreds packed a First Nations Long House to support a group of former students who underwent extreme physical, mental, and sexual abuse inside BC residential schools.
The first day of the Truth and Reconciliation conference commenced at the Quw'utsun' Cultural and Conference Centre this morning in a room full of those confronting this unparalleled disgrace from Canada's past.
The crowd: Aboriginal and non-Aboriginals; Elderly and young; Residential school survivors; advocates for reconciliation and those just wanting to learn more about a grave antecedent.
This gathering took a different approach than previous events. It is designed to educate using the words of those brave enough to vocalize their first-hand experience with the seemingly-ever ominous controlling figures of their past.
The general consensus was it is a time to come to terms with the past and begin the healing process through sharing and understanding.
A project aimed at healing some of the wounds from the residential school system has come to light in Attawapiskat.
Jackie Hookimaw-Witt and her husband Norbert Witt worked with Northern Art Glass in Ottawa on a week-long course as part of a project to replace six large stained glass windows for the Catholic church in Attawapiskat.
Hookimaw-Witt's project is connected to older wounds, including the church's history of removing children from the community to residential schools.
She applied and received a $50,000 grant from the federal Truth and Reconciliation Fund to create the stained glass windows.
Hundreds gathered Thursday at the Quw'utsun' Cultural Centre for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's community event.
Residential school survivors shared dozens of stories, some with laughter, many with tears but all with a hope for a better future.
Event Coordinator Brennan MacDonald said the forum is giving Cowichan and neighbouring tribes a chance to meet the commissioner and share their own stories.
“For the first time some of these stories are coming out and helping to better understand our own path to wellness and better understand each other, you know within our family within our broader communities. It is really important that the truth behind this experience is shared so that we can work toward understanding each other and building stronger relationships as we move forward.”
New research shows the federal government considered the Fort William Indian Hospital Sanatorium a form of residential school. It operated until 1966.
But it's not clear whether students who went there will be eligible for the government compensation package available to other former students. Children at the hospital often came from a residential school, where they'd contracted tuberculosis. Classes were organized for the children during their recovery.
Mike Cachagee, who speaks for the National Residential School Survivors' Society, said the settlement agreement didn't consider sanatorium schools — but anyone who was in the sanatorium should file a claim immediately.
The Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre did the research and applied to have the Fort William sanatorium school recognized under the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement. But Cachagee is concerned the government will say the sanatorium school is outside that settlement agreement.
The TRC holds its fourth and final Regional Hearing leading up to the Regional Event in Victoria. Cowichan (Duncan) will host the Hearing at Quw’utsun’ Cultural and Conference Centre, 200 Cowichan Way on March 15 and 16, 2012. The Hearing will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (PST) each day.
Watch live streaming video from trc_cvr at livestream.com
A cry of anguish came from a nearby room during an interview with Roger Daybutch.
The organizer for the St. Charles Garnier and St. Joseph’s Residential School Gathering was taking time out on Saturday to talk about the genesis for this school reunion. He was interrupted by someone crying out from a nearby room.
He explains while the reunion is simply that - a time for old friends to meet after years apart - it is also an opportunity for those looking for healing.
The two schools in the town of Spanish once housed Native children. Erected in the early 1900s, and run by Jesuits, St. Peter Claver’s School, later named Garnier College, housed 180 boys and St. Joseph’s held 150 girls.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in its interim report, recommended the need for the federal government to invest in high quality mental health and cultural support services into the long term. It also interestingly recommended that there be a review of curriculum materials for non-aboriginal students so that we can ensure that all Canadians have a full understanding of the trauma that our first nations friends and neighbours suffered through.
It also recommended that the government turn to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to move forward on its reconciliation activities. As well, it called for the restoration of funds in the coming budget to the National Healing Foundation.
I look forward to the response by the Government of Canada to these recommendations put forward by the commission.
Mr. Greg Rickford (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, CPC):
We are committed to supporting former residential school students and their families throughout the implementation of the settlement agreement, including providing access to important mental health and emotional support services. To date, 97% of the 80,000 originally estimated living former students have received their common experience payment compensation, totalling over $1.6 billion. Over 14,000 independent assessment process claims have been heard or settled through negotiations, totalling $1.3 billion.
On January 16, the Government of Canada announced that the advocacy and public information program will allocate $3 million in 2012 and 2013, bringing its total funding over the last six years to more than $25 million. This program began in 2007 and encourages the sharing of information to ensure that aboriginal communities, particularly former students and their families, are aware of all aspects of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and its potential impacts.
The goals of the 2012 to 2013 funding are to support healing and reconciliation, with a particular emphasis on youth and intergenerational issues; to promote a better understanding of the impacts of the legacy of Indian residential schools; and to build new partnerships between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people.
Clearly, our government will continue to work with our partners and other countries for the advancement of the cause of indigenous rights around the world, and we will continue to live up to the terms of that court approved settlement and our commitment to truth and reconciliation.
Dans son rapport provisoire, la Commission de vérité et de réconciliation a recommandé que le gouvernement fédéral investisse à long terme dans des services de santé mentale et de soutien culturel de qualité élevée. Fait intéressant, elle a aussi recommandé de procéder à une mise à jour des manuels scolaires des élèves non autochtones pour faire en sorte que tous les Canadiens comprennent bien le traumatisme qu'ont vécu nos amis et nos voisins des Premières nations.
La commission a également recommandé que le gouvernement s'appuie sur la Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les droits des peuples autochtones pour aller de l'avant dans ses activités de réconciliation. Elle a aussi demandé que le financement alloué à la Fondation autochtone de guérison soit rétabli dans le prochain budget.
J'ai bien hâte de voir comme le gouvernement du Canada réagira à ces recommandations de la commission.
Le 16 janvier, le gouvernement du Canada a annoncé que le Programme d'information publique et de défense des intérêts allouerait 3 millions de dollars en 2012 et 2013, ce qui fera passer à plus de 25 millions de dollars le total des sommes accordées sur une période de six ans dans le cadre de ce programme, qui a été créé en 2007 et qui favorise l'échange d'information pour que les populations autochtones, en particulier les élèves et leurs familles, soient au courant de tous les volets de la Convention de règlement relative aux pensionnats indiens et de ses conséquences éventuelles.
Le financement alloué pour 2012 et 2013 est assorti des objectifs suivants: appuyer la guérison et la réconciliation en mettant un accent particulier sur les questions intergénérationnelles et celles touchant les jeunes; faire la promotion d’une meilleure compréhension des répercussions des séquelles des pensionnats indiens; former de nouveaux partenariats entre les Autochtones et les non-Autochtones.
The Anglican Church in Australia's first female indigenous archdeacon, Karen Kime, said she sees her role as improving communication with the nation's aboriginal communities and supporting reconciliation with the church and the wider society.
Canberra-Goulburn Bishop Stuart Robinson, who conducted Kime's ordination service on Feb.25, told the Daily Advertiser that the appointment sends a strong signal that indigenous ministry is now on the church's agenda, "and therefore we are deploying a highly gifted, skilled and experienced indigenous leader to take carriage of this work."
Between 1910 and 1970, churches cooperated with the Australian government in the forced removal of up to 100,000 indigenous children, now known as the "stolen generation," from their parents. The government's policy aimed to assimilate children, placing many in church-run institutions. After a 1977 government inquiry, most major Christian denominations publicly apologized for roles in these forced removal practices and have taken reconciliatory steps. A government apology followed in 2008.
The history and ongoing legacy of residential schools should be taught to students across the country, according to a commission set up to educate Canadians about the church-run schools and inspire a process of truth and healing.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) released its interim report February 24 in Vancouver. It also launched a new historical publication entitled They Came for the Children: Canada, Aboriginal Peoples, and Residential Schools.
The interim report reflects activities undertaken by the TRC since June 2009 and provides 20 recommendations that touch on five key areas—the operation of the commission, education, support for survivors, reconciliation and commemoration. It represents a brief summary of what the commissioners have heard directly from as many as 3,000 former students and staff who were most affected by residential schools.
Sometimes the truth hurts. But often it heals.
On Monday and Tuesday, a lot of tears were shed as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission heard from survivors of the Alberni Residential School.
The stories were both unbelievable and shocking, making the whole experience one that was difficult to witness.
While the Truth and Reconciliation Commission heard many heartbreaking histories over the last two days, people also shared their tales of hope and healing.
In addition, the commission learned how important gaining back their culture is to Aboriginal People here.
The TRC wrapped up two days of hearings in Port Alberni on Tuesday.
We are looking for Aboriginal individuals over the age of 18 to complete a confidential study relating to Indian Residential Schools
It is not necessary that you or anyone in your family attended Residential School
In the current study, we are hoping to identify additional factors associated with well-being among children of Residential School Survivors and among Aboriginal adults whose parents did not attend Residential School. This study has received clearance by the Carleton University Psychology Research Ethics Board.
First Nation leaders are calling for concrete reconciliation efforts after the Feb. 24 release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s interim report.
“Real reconciliation ... is achieved through action and change,” said National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo. “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.”
Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Mike Metatawabin said the direct impacts of residential schools continue to be felt across NAN territory.
You’ve never met a residential school survivor? Never heard them tell their stories?
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings that are taking place today in Port Alberni, British Columbia, offer Canadians the opportunity to listen to the stories of former students via a live webcast between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (PDT).
There’s no better way to understand someone else’s story than to hear it firsthand. Why not take the time today—however much you can manage—to listen to these important and moving testimonies? And share this link with others by e-mail, Twitter, or Facebook.
The link leads to a video of 11:46 in duration. This video presents part one of the IAP investigation follow-up broadcast on the evening of Friday, March 9, 2012 on APTN National News.
The link leads to a video of 12:01 in duration. This video presents part two of the IAP investigation follow-up broadcast on the evening of Friday, March 9, 2012 on APTN National News.
After hearing stories of extreme abuse in Port Hardy, and Campbell River the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s tour of Vancouver Island shifted south to Port Alberni. On the first day of testimony officials heard heart wrenching stories of savage physical abuse.
Testimony will continue in Port Alberni March 13th before shifting south to Duncan and on to Victoria.
Terror, abuse, neglect and pain.
These were the horrifying realities for some who attended Alberni Residential School.
On Monday, many of them told their stories to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and an audience of their friends, families and supporters. "I am terrified to be here. I was so tormented here," said Elizabeth Kimberly Good. "But I know the people who reside here now are beautiful people."
The TRC holds its third Regional Hearing leading up to the Regional Event in Victoria. Port Alberni will host the Hearing at Maht Mahs Gymnasium, 5000 Mission Road on March 12 and 13, 2012. The Hearing will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PST) each day.
Watch live streaming video from trc_cvr at livestream.com
The Canadian Indian residential school system was first established in Upper Canada by the Gradual Civilization Act of 1857; followed after Canadian Confederation by the Gradual Enfranchisement Act of 1869. Prior to this residential schools housing native children had been operational as early as 1840, but not under government sanction.
Indian Horse, a severe yet beautiful novel by Ojibway writer Richard Wagamese, concerns Saul Indian Horse, a former hockey star undergoing treatment for alcoholism. Saul chronicles his life story as a means of identifying the source of his addiction. His autobiography is a familiar vehicle for conveying the novel’s plot. At the same time, it demonstrates how knowing your own story can heal a broken spirit.
Saul’s story begins in the northern Ontario bush where he enjoys a traditional life of hunting and fishing with his parents, grandmother and older brother Ben. The family hopes living far outside town will keep the boys from residential school. But government men hunt them down, and take Ben at gunpoint.
Saul’s devastated parents turn to alcohol. They leave the bush, moving from campground to campground in the rundown margins of towns. Ben’s return years later — he has run away from school — reignites the family’s hope. They return to the bush, this time heading much deeper in, to God’s Lake (Manitou Gameeng), which according to legend, is their spiritual home.
When Ben dies of tuberculosis, Saul’s embittered parents abandon him and his grandmother. He lands, inevitably, at St. Jerome’s Indian Residential School, where “education” describes a perpetual cycle of abuse. A degree of respite arrives in the form of Father Leboutilier. The young priest introduces the students to hockey. Saul develops a passion for the game and an uncanny, almost preternatural gift.
The Faculty of Education, Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP) and the Indigenous Education Council (IEC) invite you to attend an exhibit opening from the Legacy of Hope Foundation.
Come learn about the history and legacy of the residential school system in Canada.
Friday, March 9, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Education North Atrium (Main Floor)
March 5 – 23 For further information contact:
For more information on the residential school system, visit http://guides.library.
Marie Wilson, a former Sarnia resident serving on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, is scheduled to speak at the Lambton County Municipal Association annual meeting and banquet April 26, at the Royal Canadian Legion hall in Petrolia. The commission was established by the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement that came into effect in 2007 between the federal government and First Nations.
The last of Canada’s residential schools closed in 1996, but many Canadians still don’t know the full extent of their dark histories.
“Federal governments depend very highly on the ignorance of the general Canadian populace when it comes to our history generally, but especially with aboriginal stuff,” said John Steckley, a sociology professor at Humber who specializes in and writes books about native language and culture.
Some are outraged. Others say they're embarrassed and ashamed. One Grade 3 student says it simply isn't fair.
These are the voices of Canadians moved to write to their leaders last year as images of living conditions in the northern Ontario Attawapiskat First Nation went viral.
More than 1,500 people from across the country reached out to the federal government in the span of two weeks in November, according to correspondence obtained by Postmedia News under the Access to Information Act.
In Burlington, Ont., one Canadian placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of current and past federal governments. "It's because of non-negotiated Canadian policy - the Indian Act - that our First Nations were made wards of the state, pushed into remote locations on plots too small to enable them to continue their traditional way of life, and prevented from making any real progress in the following years."
He said now is the time for the government to "begin respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis people and start helping them after the state they have been put in from what the Canadian government did to them in Residential Schools."
He was referring to the school system in which seven generations of aboriginal children were taken from their homes to board at government-funded, church-run schools. They were forbidden to speak their own languages or perform traditional ceremonies. Many were abused. Today, aboriginal advocates say much of the despair facing some of their communities can be directly traced to the legacy of the residential schools. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission is currently crossing the country to hear from survivors and find out exactly what the impact was, with the goal of moving forward, as a country.
The education system, once used to tear Aboriginal families and cultures apart, should now be used to help heal wounds lingering from generations of residential schools in Canada, says an interim report released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) last week.
The commission, charged with leading efforts to repair post-residential school relations in the country, calls for more Aboriginal control over education as an important step for reconciling the trauma experienced by residential school survivors and their families.
"They (survivors) want the institutions that invested so much over many decades in undermining their cultures to invest now in restoring them," Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the TRC, wrote in the report.
"They want control over the way their children and grandchildren are educated," the report said. "Reconciliation will come through the education system."
On March 15 and 16, the Quw'utsun' Cultural and Conference Centre will host Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission in a solemn event aimed at helping victims of residential school trauma cope and assist others in understanding the damage the system caused for First Nations people here and across the country.
Cowichan Chief Harvey Alphonse welcomes the gathering and thinks it will encourage more local residential school survivors to come forward.
"I believe this particular session has to do with people who have already disclosed. I hope those who haven't come forward at least listen to survivors willing to share their experiences," he said.
Speaking out about the horrors of former residential schools is a crucial first step in the healing process for survivors, said Mike Metatawabin.
The Nishnawbe Aski Nation deputy grand chief and residential school survivor was the featured lecturer on Friday for Lakehead University’s Aboriginal Awareness Week celebrations.
“For years afterward I was in denial of my emotions, but they were always there,” he said, regarding Canada’s shameful past of the schools that forced Aboriginal Peoples’ children away from their families and put them in abusive situations.
“I began taking the first steps to address my anger and grief 20 years ago. Even today, there are times when those feelings are triggered. The last couple of days alone, I have been juggling them and they are raw.”
On August 16, 2011, Chief Justice Winkler granted NAN and Windigo’s request and directed that Stirland Lake (also known as Wahbon Bay Academy) and Cristal Lake residential high schools be added to the list of Indian Residential Schools, thereby entitling former students to apply for the Common Experience Payment (CEP) and the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) relating to their attendance at these schools.
Unfortunately, Canada chose to appeal this decision, and filed its appeal on November 16, 2011, challenging Chief Justice Winkler’s decision.
Since then we have heard from many former students who have been told by Service Canada and others that Stirland Lake and Cristal Lake are not approved Indian Residential Schools and have rejected their applications for the CEP and IAP. This has left former students confused and frustrated. We are frustrated too.
We have instructed our lawyer, Susan Vella, to resist Canada’s appeal and she is doing so. The appeal is currently scheduled to be heard by the Court of Appeal on May 16, 2012.
Rest assured that NAN and Windigo are working hard to defend your right to participate in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement with respect to your attendance at Stirland Lake and Cristal Lake.
Decades after attending residential school, some former students in Hay River, N.W.T., are still struggling with pain from their experience.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is holding hearings with former Indian residential school students at the K'atlodeeche First Nation reserve in Hay River.
Former students from surrounding communities also shared their stories with the commission.
They've been closed for decades, but residential schools are still having a significant impact on Aboriginal youth in this country.
That was the message Thursday from one group at Lakehead University as the school celebrates Aboriginal Awareness Week.
This multimedia exhibit from SEVEN Youth Media Network features pieces from Nishnawbe Aski Nation youth about the effects of residential schools.
Aboriginal Awareness Week at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay culminates today and tomorrow with a focus on how residential schools affected not just those students who survived them, but also the generations that followed.
Today the Lakehead University Aboriginal Awareness Centre and the SEVEN Youth Media Network unveil “Healing the Legacy: a Residential School Project by Youth,” a multimedia exhibit in the Agora University Centre through tomorrow.
Reconciliation is a word that’s been cropping up in the media lately.
The word is often mentioned in relation to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s recently released interim report and a publication entitled They Came for the Children: Canada, Aboriginal Peoples, and Residential Schools.
Gathering these stories is a painful process but it needs to be done. As with many tragedies, we need to remember in order to avoid repeating the mistakes that were made. Residential schools have always been a tough subject matter for me to write about. I used to think they didn’t have an effect on me, considering my direct family line back to my great-grandpa and great-grandma never went to a residential school.
But I was wrong.
My name is Bevann Fox and I'm from Piapot Nation and Pasqua Nation, Treaty Four Territory.
Abstract Love is about the impact of terrorism, genocide and personal relationships in a story of overcoming obstacles and succeeding. The book encourages readers to explore their own energy and provides some understanding of those who went through the boarding school system and those who didn't.
This novel is written as fiction, but is based on real events. I have taken creative liberties with certain characters and events.
In Saskatchewan Native Theatre's ongoing production of Where the Blood Mixes, we are once again reminded that through art there is a way to tell the darkest stories in a way that is both enjoyable and human.
The Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company (SNTC) has made a brilliant choice in staging Kevin Loring's award-winning script Where the Blood Mixes to round out the 2011/2012 season. It runs through Sunday at the Remai Arts Centre's Backstage Stage.
Where the Blood Mixes is the story of Floyd (Curtis Peeteetuce) and his friend Mooch (Robert Benz), who grew up in the residential schools together. Their harmony is shifted when Floyd's daughter Christine (Falen Johnson) finds her father and asks to come to the reserve for a visit. Her phone call begins to coax Floyd's emotional ghosts to the surface - the death of Christine's mother, his residential school upbringing and having his daughter taken from him - memories he's managed to keep at bay with alcohol.
Cemetery foreman Greg Sundsten trudges back and forth through the foot of snow that has settled over Red Deer’s main graveyard. He takes a break from digging to explain how close he must be to finding the children’s graves. He rechecks his map and swears they are somewhere between Arndt and Bice. After an hour, he gives up. Whatever remains to mark the children’s plot must be small, hidden somewhere outside the trails Sundsten dug searching for them.
The search for these three children began 25 years ago with Lyle Richards, who was volunteering in the Red Deer archives when he was approached by a stranger.
The path to healing is underway for residential school survivors around Canada and soon members of the Cowichan Tribes will be able to access the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to help the healing process.
The TRC is holding its fourth community event on Vancouver Island at the Quw’utsun Cultural Centre in Duncan Mar. 15-16.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission will be in Port Alberni next week gathering testimony from residential school survivors and their families.
Commission officials will be listening to testimony at the Maht Mahs gym on the Tseshaht reserve on March 12–13.
Commission officials are gathering information about residential schools and documenting testimony from survivors and families about their experiences in the school in order to create a permanent public record about the schools’ legacy.
There were five such schools located on Vancouver Island at one time, including the Alberni Indian Residential School (AIRS) in Port Alberni.
Is the government using a popular technology to keep information from the public?
Documents obtained by APTN National News suggest it is and it has to do with how bureaucrats are communicating.
APTN National News reporter Nigel Newlove has this story.
>>Reporter: The Blackberry is part of the scenery on Parliament Hill, and almost everyone has one. But as this e-mail from a senior bureaucrat at Aboriginal Affairs shows, Blackberrys may create a loophole in the Access to Information Act. "Could you possibly pin Caitlin at 27F3884A".
>>Reporter: Pin to pin messages are a way to communicate in private by a Blackberry, and according to Blackberry, the messages are not routed through e-mail accounts. Now even politicians are convinced pin to pin is being used maliciously in government.
>>Unidentified: They have not really dealt with how they can control access to pins and the technology behind capturing that as far as freedom of information.
>>Reporter: The e-mail in question was part of a string of messages developing a strategy to deal with the comments the Aboriginal Affairs Minister made about residential schools and genocide.
Voices cracked with emotion. Tears flowed. But the heartwrenching stories were still told. Abuse was detailed using words like torture, sexual abuse, loneliness – sometimes healing. That came later to some.
An emotional two days of personal accounts told to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission at Thunderbird Hall last week outlined the impact of residential schools on First Nations residents of the Campbell River region.
Uncivilized. Primitive. Inferior. Apparently, that is what the rest of us Canadians think of First Nations' people.
I am not sure that is entirely the case but that at least is what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reported last month after hearing the testimonies of many of those native people who went through the now discredited residential school system.
One thing for sure, most of us newer Canadians had probably never heard of the controversial residential school system until that boil was lanced a few years ago, and the federal government offered a formal apology and established the reconciliation commission to help chart a new future.
Those of us from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean have had many of the same difficulties.
I don't want to make light of the situation of many of Canada's native peoples. Theirs is a special case; reserve life looks unconscionably hard and their schools are clearly in need of help.
But if we all knew our shared history and hardships better maybe there are lessons we can take from each other.
As a new (and proud) Canadian, someone from an entirely different culture, I understand how important it is to know your past, but not to let it, or how you are perceived, govern you.
An independent lawyer appointed to represent the interests of aboriginals at the inquiry into the Robert Pickton case announced her resignation Monday, condemning the hearings for failing to listen to a marginalized people who overwhelmingly made up the serial killer’s victims.
Robyn Gervais issued a brief statement announcing her withdrawal from the hearings, and said she would explain her reasons in more detail in front of Commissioner Wally Oppal on Tuesday morning.
Her statement cited delays in calling aboriginal witnesses, an apparent lack of panels on aboriginal issues and the focus on police witnesses. She also said she hadn’t received support from the aboriginal community.
“This inquiry is fundamentally about missing and murdered women, a disproportionate number of whom were aboriginal,” said Ms. Gervais, who is Metis and previously represented the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council.
The majority of Mr. Pickton’s victims were aboriginal, and the inquiry has heard that aboriginals are disproportionately overrepresented in the Downtown Eastside, where poverty and drug addiction have become the daily reality for many of its residents.
The inquiry has heard evidence about how lives of abuse, including the intergenerational scars left from Canada’s notorious Indian residential schools, left Mr. Pickton’s victims to self-medicate using drugs, and then turn to sex work to support their habits.
Where are the Children, an archival photo exhibit portraying the history of the residential school system, opened in Robson Hall at the University of Manitoba on Feb. 27.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its Interim Report, Friday along with a historical publication called They Came for the Children: Canada, Aboriginal Peoples, and Residential Schools.
‘They Came for the Children’ examines the history of residential schools in Canada, the effect and consequences of the system, and its ongoing legacy. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Interim Report reflects activities undertaken by the TRC since June 2009.
The report contains 20 recommendations that touch on five areas: operation of the Commission, education, support for survivors, reconciliation, and commemoration.
It includes a brief summary of what the Commissioners have heard directly from as many as 3,000 former students and staff since its creation in 2007 as part of the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
Reconciliation is a word that's been cropping up in the media lately.
The word is often mentioned in relation to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's recently released interim report and a publication entitled They Came for the Children: Canada, Aboriginal Peoples, and Residential Schools.
Since 2009, the TRC has collected more than 3,000 personal stories from residential school survivors across Canada. This report is what they've produced so far.
Gathering these stories is a painful process but it needs to be done. As with many tragedies, we need to remember in order to avoid repeating the mistakes that were made. Residential schools have always been a tough subject matter for me to write about. I used to think they didn't have an effect on me, considering my direct family line back to my great-grandpa and great-grandma never went to a residential school.
But I was wrong.
Today the Interim report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) was released. The Presbyterian Church in Canada supports the work of the TRC as it seeks ways to heal the wounds caused by the legacy of residential schools and chart a positive path forward for aboriginal and non aboriginal Canadians.
Four Letters to the Editor of the Winnipeg Free Press that present differing viewpoints on Justice Murray Sinclair's that residential schools represent an act of genocide.
More than two dozen former Indian Residential School students took steps toward healing while leaving an historic record for succeeding generations this week when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada arrived on North Vancouver Island.
The commission took both public and private testimony Monday and Tuesday at the Kwakiutl Band gymnasium, as cameras and voice recorders catalogued the grief, anger and demands for justice from the participants.
Resident Elder Gerry Martin gave a presentation on the ongoing impact of residential schooling on First Nations last week.
“Of all the presentations I do all year this is the hardest one,” Martin said about the event.
More than 120 people filled the Thunderbird Hall for the opening of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC's) two-day visit to Campbell River Thursday.
Most of the youth at recent Kookum and Youth circles in Sioux Lookout had no idea of the hardships their grandmothers faced.
Those stories were brought home to the young women during the workshops on Feb. 14-16, where Kookums told the younger generation of their experiences with residential schools.
Those present were students from the Equay-Wuk (Women’s) Group, students who traveled from Dennis Franklin Cromarty high school, two Elders, Emily Gregg and Juliet Blackhawk, and several other interested youth from the North who wanted to learn more about residential schools and the legacy.
The residential school system changed the lives of many First Nations people across Canada for generations, and the truth of it will continue to change Canadians for generations to come, according to the interim report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
“The truth about the residential school system will cause many Canadians to see their country differently,” said Truth and Reconciliation chair Justice Murray Sinclair, in a press release. “These are hard truths that we need to acknowledge in order to lay the foundation for reconciliation.”
The Federal Government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has made it’s way farther down Vancouver Island, today reaching Campbell River. The commission is crossing the country to hear stories from survivors of Canada’s Indian Residential School System.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its Interim Report, Friday along with a historical publication called They Came for the Children: Canada, Aboriginal Peoples, and Residential Schools.
Irvin McIvor, chief of Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation, was personally affected by the Sandy Bay residential school. He is a day school survivor who is currently involved in a class action lawsuit against the government, looking to be included in the compensation package.
“We were still forced to adhere to the policies of the Canadian government and by the Roman Catholic Church,” said McIvor. “I didn’t get to sleep at the school but I still got the beating, I still got my ears pulled, I still got to kneel in the corners for two or three hours at a time for speaking my language.”
McIvor agrees with many of the recommendations put forward by the Interim Report including the need for school curriculum and public awareness campaigns; the need for healing lodges in First Nations communities, and the need to look to the UN for assistance in future reconciliation discussions.
“In terms of the Truth and Reconciliation process, we had a huge residential school in Sandy Bay. Thousands and thousands of kids were culturally assimilated and abused in every shape and form you could think of. I think there’s been a lot of good work done. I think we need to educate the Canadian society, a lot of people don’t know what happened,” said McIvor.
In his Grade 9 art class at Fr. John Redmond Catholic Secondary School in west end Toronto, Roman Makuch is drawing beavers, turtles and geese, trying to see through aboriginal eyes and express himself with First Nations’ symbols. The semester dedicated to studying aboriginal art is not easy, Makuch tells a visitor. But he believes it’s valuable.
Big city kids, most of them first-generation Canadians, learning about aboriginal culture and history is “sweet music to my ears,” Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner Marie Wilson told The Catholic Register. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is more than halfway through a process of examining the history and consequences of shipping about 100,000 aboriginal children off to residential schools in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The residential schools existed to erase the language and culture from the next aboriginal generation — an effort which has been called cultural genocide. The commission’s goal is to push mainstream Canada into a new relationship with aboriginal Canada.
“It really was in the context of the schools that we got into this mess in the first place,” Wilson said.
It will be up to the schools to forge a new awareness of Canada’s history and its aboriginal people, Wilson said.
When Naicatchewenin First Nation elder Gilbert Smith saw Prime Minister Stephen Harper offer a full apology on behalf of Canadians for the Indian residential school system back on June 11, 2008, he thought that one day he would like to thank Harper in person.
Last month he got his chance.
A commission studying the legacy of residential schools wants the government to mount a campaign to teach Canadians about these schools. (Introduction to a video of 1:28 in duration.)
The Feb. 25 Canadian Press article "Tough lessons from residential schools" provides valuable coverage of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s efforts to inform Canadians of the great harm done to First Nations people by the residential school system. But it repeats the misleading statement that "about 150,000 aboriginal children were forced to attend the schools."
If "the schools" refers to residential schools, the statement is untrue. It may be that, over 135 years, a total of 150,000 aboriginal children attended a residential school at some point (accurate figures are hard to find), but during the period in which government residential schools operated, only a fraction of that number were "forced" into them. In 1920, the section of the Indian Act compelling native children to attend school gave parents the choice of residential, industrial or day schools.
In 1901, 226 of the 290 Indian schools across Canada were day schools; in 1961, the 377 day schools far outnumbered the 56 residential institutions. In the 1950s, native children were permitted to attend provincial public schools, and by the 1960s, about 60 per cent were doing so.
It has been estimated that only about one-third of aboriginal children actually attended a residential school. That school system did great damage to individuals and communities, but such misleading statements create more misunderstanding than awareness.
Mark DeWolf, Halifax