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An Alberta residential school survivor is in Regina to meet with others who were accidentally injured and have never received compensation.
Lloyd Courtoreille said he is seeking compensation for the loss of his leg while he was a student more than 50 years ago.
"I'm raising awareness for former residential school students across Canada that never got compensated for losing a limb, like me, for instance," he said.
The 62-year-old said the reason he has not received any money for his injury is that he lost his leg in an accident and not through deliberate physical abuse.
A man who pointed a semi-automatic handgun at a friend’s head then fired it into the ground after a Westboro house party in May was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail Monday.
Nathaniel Kamenawatamin, 28, was on his way home from the party on Kirkwood Ave. when he got into an argument with a friend outside a convenience store.
He pulled the .32 calibre pistol and aimed it, threatening to shoot. When the man goaded him, insisting the gun wasn’t real, he fired.
He told his friend it was all a test and he’d passed.
While the Crown sought three years behind bars, defence lawyer Michael Johnston argued for a two-year jail sentence, a year of probation and a lifetime ban on owning a gun.
He made the case that his remorseful client, a member of the Bearskin Lake First Nation, should get a sentence focusing on rehabilitation because of the impact of colonialism, displacement and residential schools on aboriginal people and his own troubled history.
That included growing up in poverty, drinking and smoking pot since the age of 10, alcohol-fueled abuse by his stepfather and mother – a survivor of residential schools – and suicide attempts.
The Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association and Algoma University, organizers of the 'Shingwauk 2012 Gathering & Conference,' invite all members of the Sault Ste. Marie-area community, as well as all other Ontarians, Canadians, and visitors to north-eastern Ontario to attend this free, three-day event.
Fatty Legs: A True Story
Annick Press (2010)
When Olemaun was eight, she begged her father to let her attend residential school in Aklavik, a small community on the west side of the "tangled" Mackenzie River delta in the Northwest Territories -- far from her home in the Arctic High North.
Hearing bits of Alice in Wonderland from an older half-sister, Margaret wanted to know why Alice went down the rabbit hole -- if not to hunt the hare -- and what happened to her down in the burrow. She had to learn to read.
Her father, who himself attended residential school in Hay River, eventually relented. But before she left, he warned her that like rocks worn smooth by lapping water, her spirit would be worn down. She went on to spend two years in the Catholic school in Aklavik.
Now 76, Olemaun, whose full English name is Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, knows what happened to Alice. In those two years she did learn to read, but like many residential school students she endured bullying by caregivers, separation from her family and an education aimed at erasing much of her Inuvialuit knowledge.
The Ven. Adam Halkett, archdeacon of Saskatchewan and priest-in-charge at St. Joseph’s, Montreal Lake First Nations, has been elected the first diocesan indigenous bishop of Saskatchewan. He was chosen July 28 by the diocese's general assembly in Prince Albert.
The election and consecration of an Anglican diocesan indigenous bishop is part of Mamuwe Isi Mywachimowin ("Together in the Gospel"), a proposal adopted by the indigenous council and executive committee of Saskatchewan and approved by the metropolitan and executive committee of the province of Rupert’s Land in 2011.
As a sign of the new healing and new beginnings undertaken by the diocese, the assembly took place at the Senator Allen Bird Memorial Gym—on the very site of the former Prince Albert-All Saints Indian Residential School.
"This is another example of the new and creative ways that the Spirit is leading us on our journey of healing and reconciliation in the Council of the North," said Archbishop David Ashdown, metropolitan of the province of Rupert's Land.
A prominent B.C. native leader says disgraced ex-RCMP officer Monty Robinson should have gone to jail, and he's concerned that public outrage over the seemingly lenient sentence may lead to a backlash against the principle of aboriginals receiving less time in custody than other offenders.
In handing Mr. Robinson a year's conditional sentence, including a month of house arrest, for obstruction of justice, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Janice Dillon said the former Mountie's aboriginal status was a factor in her decision not to send him to prison. Under the so-called Gladue principle, courts are required to provide distinct treatment for aboriginals.
But Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs president Stewart Phillip, an outspoken advocate of native rights and aboriginal land claims, said Sunday he believes it was inappropriate for the judge to take Mr. Robinson's background into account.
Grand Chief Phillip said he supports the Gladue principle. However, it should be applied only in circumstances where an aboriginal offender has suffered significant trauma growing up, he contended. It should not be automatic.
ITCCS field worker Kevin Annett has today issued new evidence compiled from former Anglican Church researcher Leona Moses that reveals a plan between the Crown and Church of England and collaborating chiefs to use the Mohawk Institute Indian residential school to wipe out the remaining Mohawk people.
The explosive document dates from 1870, and is secreted away in a closed section called the "G 12 collection" in the Huron Diocese archives of the Anglican Church of Canada in London, Ontario.
"I saw it when I worked for the Diocese in 1998" Leona Moses stated to Kevin Annett and Cheryl Squire in an interview in her home.
"It was a regular contract, signed and sealed, between the Crown, local chiefs of the Six Nations Confederacy, and the New England Company, that ran the Mush Hole (Mohawk Institute Indian residential school). The plan was to get rid of the last of the Mohawks after authority for the school was transferred to Six Nations."
TRC Urban Inuit Community Hearing
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) will be in Ottawa:
Thursday August 16, 2012
Sheraton Hotel – Rideau Room (2nd floor)
150 Albert Street
9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Join us at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto on August 14 for an historic event with the Reverend Jesse Jackson and Justice Sinclair.
Can't make it to Toronto? Watch it live on webcast right here at trc.ca
Wabeseemoong youth, Kirk Cameron is employed in the finance department of Grand Council Treaty #3.
At this particular time, he had been asked by the organization to represent the youth at a residential school gathering in Redgut First Nation in June.
Cameron began his address by welcoming the drum and scared items present. He then went to on to welcome the people and gave his reason for being present.
Within his speech he spoke of being a by-product of someone who had attended a residential school. Cameron said, “My father did not know what to do with me sometimes when I acted out. He did not know how to discipline me or show affection towards me.”
“Those are the long term residual affects of the residential school. Yes, it the affects still exist amongst the young people. I am a living proof of it.”
Cameron’s speech brought many issues to light.
Marcia Mirasty represents a growing number of Aboriginal people who are speaking out about being descendants of Indian residential school survivors.
In what Truth and Reconciliation Commission Chair Justice Murray Sinclair referred to as “one of the most significant presentations we have ever had,” Mirasty, accompanied by her mother, mother-in-law, and aunties, the older women all residential school survivors, likened the impact of Indian residential schools on those who never attended to the danger of second hand smoke.
“There are second hand impacts from residential schools and these impacts are called intergenerational impacts. And sometimes they are worse,” she said at the TRC national event in Saskatoon.
"There is a story in every residential school survivor. There is a story in every residential school descendant. There is a story in every residential school brother and sister. And those stories need to be heard.”
Chief Felix Thomas, Saskatoon Tribal Council
Clement Chartier is worried that the inclusion of Métis leaders in the latest Truth and Reconciliation national event held in Saskatoon June 21 to June 24 delivers the wrong message.
Sitting next to federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan in the Circle of Reconciliation, which was comprised of representatives of the parties that signed the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement, Chartier made it clear that the Métis people were neither included in that agreement nor in the apology delivered by Prime Minster Stephen Harper.
“The truth is that the exclusion of Métis as a people is reflected throughout this whole period,” said Chartier, president of the Métis Nation Council.
The circle, which was held June 22, the second day of the four-day TRC event, was charged with talking about the truth and how representatives will move toward reconciliation.
Walter Linklater choked up and wiped at his eyes as he thanked his wife Maria of 50 years for sticking with him “despite the harm I brought upon her when I was drinking.”
Linklater was taken away from his Fort Francis, Ont., home at the age of six to attend St. Margaret’s Residential School in that community. He was then carted across the county to finish his Grade 12 at Lebret Residential School in Saskatchewan.
Now 73, he has been sober for almost 40 years, but those years of alcoholism were devastating for his wife and children.
Maria Linklater started attending residential school when she was seven.
“I had a lot of bad experiences,” she said. “Life was harsh.”
It improved little when she married Walter.
These, and so many more stories, were shared during the fourth national event hosted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Saskatoon June 21 to June 24. The stories have opened the eyes of the commissioners as to the price women, in particular, paid for the residential school system.
Former Prime Minister Joe Clark has committed to tell the story of what he has heard at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s regional event in Saskatoon as part of his duties as an honorary witness. And he’s promising that he has access to some of the country’s most influential people, who he intends to speak with about the harm that was inflicted on Indian children within the residential school system.
“We should not be called honorary witnesses,” said Clark. “We should be called honoured witnesses, because we are truly honoured to be part of what you are doing.”
Clark was joined for the TRC regional event June 21 to June 24 by a number of well-known people who have accepted the role of honorary witness, including former Auditor General Sheila Fraser and actress and former Member of Parliament Tina Keeper. Sir Sidney Mead, a Maori anthropologist and historian who made an unexpected appearance, was also given the title of honorary witness.
Considering that Saskatoon ranks among the most violent, crime-ridden cities in Canada and Toronto among its safest, it would seem that Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the wrong mayor.
Canada's top politician dropped in on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on Tuesday to talk about gun violence. As has traditionally been the political response to issues of crime, however, they weren't meeting to talk solutions as much as to capitalize on the attention.
Meanwhile, back in Saskatoon, where according to Statistics Canada's latest report, the overall and violent crime rates lag only those of nation leading Regina and Winnipeg, the debate over how to turn things around must be a little more grounded than mugging for the cameras. Police Chief Clive Weighill took some solace in the fact that, as bad as the numbers are in Saskatoon, things are improving.
This is partly because there are more police officers on the street, Weighill notes. But he told The StarPhoenix this week that success in reducing crime also hinges on addressing societal problems such as poverty, poor housing and unemployment.
In spite of the dedicated efforts of a number of community and social groups, this province continues to have too many of its children living in poverty, overcrowded housing and hunger. There are too few programs to deal with such basics as literacy, making the adjustment from rural to urban life, and dealing with the after-effects of the dysfunctional residential school system.
Commissioner Wilton Littlechild has been appointed Chairperson of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP).
The Expert Mechanism provides the UN Human Rights Council with thematic advice in the form of studies and research on the rights of Indigenous peoples. It is currently preparing a number of studies, including one on the role of languages and culture in the protection of the rights and identities of Indigenous peoples, and another on the rights of Indigenous peoples to participate in decision-making with respect to extractive industries.
As Chief Littlechild says, “This not part of my TRC work although it is very related to our work.”
Congratulations to Chief Littlechild!
Eight of the 10 premiers are expected to attend Wednesday's meeting between Canada's premiers and aboriginal leaders, although the premiers of Quebec and New Brunswick likely won't be there. On the aboriginal side, the premiers will meet with the leaders of the Assembly of First Nations, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the Metis National Council and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.
Clement Chartier of the Metis National Council said he intends to press the provincial leaders on including the Metis nation on major resource development initiatives in western Canada.
But he said the group, which represents as many as 400,000 people, faces the same challenge of being recognized by the federal and provincial governments, particularly when it comes to Indian residential schools and the exclusion of the Metis from the federal settlement agreement.
"So we're just left in this limbo while our cousins, the treaty Indian people who attended 30 miles away, have been dealt with," he said before Wednesday's meeting.
"It's a big critical issue that needs to be addressed."
Officials from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada are pleading with eligible aboriginal claimants to take advantage of the independent assessment process for residential school survivors to take advantage of the before its upcoming deadline.
“It’s important to recognize that after Sept. 19 2012, applications will not be accepted subsequent to that date,” stressed Akivah Starkman, executive director of the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat, at a news conference July 23.
The IAP is specifically for those who experienced serious physical, sexual, or emotional abuse at a residential school.
You do not have to have lived at a residential hostel to receive this settlement, however.
A quasi-judicial tribunal that operates independently from the Government of Canada sets up the process. The hearings are entirely out-of-court, and compensation is paid out after a hearing of the claim is deemed worthy of a settlement.
“Claimants present their cases at a hearing before an adjudicator who resolves the claim and rewards financial compensation when warranted,” Starkman said.
“The claimant is not subjected to cross-examination at the hearing by the parties. As well, the claimant is able to have support people at the hearing, and is provided, through Health Canada, with support throughout the entire process if they need it,” Starkman said.
The deadline for compensation applications for victims of abuse at Indian Residential Schools is Sept. 19. Akivah Starkman is executive director of the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat. Incorrect information appeared in a story Monday.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 25, 2012 A2
North Battleford is trying to shake the label as Canada's most crime-ridden city for the third year in a row.
The city topped Statistics Canada's annual list, which measures crime severity in all 239 Canadian cities with populations of more than 10,000.
North Battleford city Coun. Ray Fox, who grew up on the Sweetgrass First Nation west of the city, said people he speaks with feel safe walking the streets. He believes his city's crime problems are concentrated in at-risk populations, many of whom are aboriginal.
"If we don't pay attention and start doing things different, they are going to get worse. And I think that's what you are seeing here - things are getting worse," Fox said.
Fox also said the community needs to be paying attention to things like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which strives to document abuses in residential schools.
"Collectively as a society we need to start starting to understand the load that these people are carrying," Fox said.
North Battleford ranked No. 1 in Statistics Canada's crime severity index in the categories of overall crime and non-violent crime. The city ranked third overall in violent crime nationwide.
For more than half a century, the hated brick building of the St. Eugene Mission swallowed up native children and spit them back out, traumatized and damaged from their years of family separation, cultural assimilation and worse.
Even after the Catholic-run residential school closed its doors for good in 1970, deep physical and emotional scars remained.
As the abandoned building deteriorated, most natives wanted it torn down. But the old school, whose three storeys loom over the reserve of the St. Mary's Band of the Ktunaxa Nation Council, did not succumb to the wrecker's ball.
Instead, in a remarkable, one-of-a-kind turnaround, the St. Eugene Mission has been transformed into a handsome, upscale hotel, with an adjacent casino and championship, 7,000-yard golf course.
After a faltering start that saw several brand-name hotel partners fall by the wayside and the fledgling development file for bankruptcy, the St. Eugene Resort is on its feet, 100-per-cent native-owned and closing in on its 10th anniversary.
From the painful, destructive legacy of native residential schools, there is no reclamation project quite like it.
A portion of the historic residential school settlement to compensate survivors could double in size before the deadline for applications in September, federal aboriginal affairs and residential school settlement officials said Monday.
So far, $1.5 billion has been paid out and there are more than 15,000 applications yet to be processed.
Ottawa set aside $960 million under the court-ordered settlement in 2006 to be paid to 12,700 survivors.
That was the best estimate experts had at the time about the number of people eligible to be compensated for enduring years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse at the schools that operated for more than a century in Canada.
"At the time, the projections were based on experiences that were as similar to this as could be found in other jurisdiction and other countries," said Akiva Starkman, executive director of the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat, the agency that administers the court-ordered settlement.
The last-minute scramble for victims of the Indian Residential School system to apply for government compensation is underway with the extended deadline less than two months away.
Individuals have until Sept. 19 to apply for two separate compensation processes.
Anyone who resided at a residential school may apply under the Common Experience Payment (CEP). Compensation under CEP is $10,000 for the first year and $3,000 for each additional year spent as a student.
More than 78,000 individuals have been paid out under the CEP with an average sum of $20,000. More than $1.68-billion of the allotted $1.9-billion CEP fund has been awarded to claimants.
Victims of physical or sexual abuse can also apply for compensation under the Independent Assessment Process (IAP). Original projections anticipated roughly 12,500 applications under the IAP.
To date, 29,700 applications have been made and more than 16,000 completed, with an average payout of $117,000.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada would like to remind former students of Indian residential schools that important deadlines under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) are approaching.
The Common Experience Payment (CEP) is paid to eligible former students who resided at a recognized Indian residential school. The deadline to apply for a CEP was September 19, 2011, but in cases of disability, undue hardship and exceptional circumstances, applications can be accepted until September 19, 2012. You can find additional information online or by calling 1-866-699-1742.
The Independent Assessment Process (IAP) is an out-of-court process to resolve claims of abuse at recognized Indian residential schools. The deadline for applying for compensation under this process is September 19, 2012. Former students who have received a CEP can also apply to the IAP. Information on the process can be found in the IAP guide and IAP application form which are available online or by calling 1-866-879-4913. Once completed, the application form should be sent to the address listed in the guide.
Affaires autochtones et Développement du Nord Canada rappelle aux anciens élèves des pensionnats indiens que d'importantes dates limites prévues à la Convention de règlement relative aux pensionnats indiens arrivent bientôt.
Le Paiement d'expérience commune (PEC) est versé aux anciens élèves admissibles qui ont résidé dans un pensionnat indien reconnu. La date limite pour présenter une demande au titre du PEC était le 19 septembre 2011, mais dans les cas d'incapacité, de difficultés excessives et de circonstances exceptionnelles, on pourra accepter les demandes jusqu'au 19 septembre 2012. Vous trouverez des renseignements additionnels en ligne ou en téléphonant au 1-866-699-1742.
Le Processus d'évaluation indépendant (PEI) est un processus extrajudiciaire qui vise à régler les allégations d'abus subis dans les pensionnats indiens reconnus. La date limite pour présenter une demande au titre du PEI est le 19 septembre 2012. Les anciens élèves qui ont reçu un PEC peuvent aussi présenter une demande au titre du PEI. Des renseignements sur le processus se trouvent dans le guide et le formulaire du PEI , accessibles en ligne ou en téléphonant au 1-866-879-4913. Une fois rempli, le formulaire de demande doit être envoyé à l'adresse donnée dans le guide.
The churches involved in the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) are working extremely hard to prepare for national TRC events and further build relationships with Canada's First Nations peoples, says one of the TRC's three commissioners.
"[Christians] have a true and sincere sense of indignity and shame about what happened and the role of the church in it," says Marie Wilson, who is joined on the commission by Justice Murray Sinclair and Chief Wilton Littlechild.
"My hope for the Church, and Canada generally, is that people get shaken awake to this story."
Reconciliation will take decades, but it cannot happen unless people understand the history of Canada's Indian Residential Schools (IRS), says Wilson.
"It is going to take time to rebuild relationships, to rebuild trust…and we need to [use] our new understanding of why things are the way they are in Canada," she says.
The Crown wants to see an expectant father spend three years in jail for pointing a gun at a friend's head and firing a warning shot during a fight in Westboro in May.
Nathaniel Kamenawatamin, 28, pleaded guilty on Monday to several firearms-related charges, in what the Crown calls a reckless disregard for human life by "using a gun in such a cavalier way."
Kamenawatamin, whose fiancée is expected to have his baby in December, was on the way home from a house party on Kirkwood Ave. when he got into an argument with his friend outside a convenience store.
He allegedly pointed a .32-calibre pistol at his friend's head, threatening to shoot. His friend goaded him on, insisting the gun wasn't even loaded. That's when Kamenawatamin apparently fired a shot at the ground to show it was, then later told his friend it was all a test and "he passed."
Defence lawyer Michael Johnston argued Kamenawatamin's troubled Aboriginal background should factor into a lighter sentence that focuses on rehabilitation, not hard time.
He added the long-term impacts of colonization and residential schools have to be factored in as they affect several generations down the line.
Veuillez prendre note que des fonctionnaires d’Affaires autochtones et Développement du Nord Canada et du Secrétariat d’adjudication des pensionnats indiens participeront à une téléconférence afin de répondre aux questions de nature technique liées à la date limite prochaine permettant aux anciens élèves de présenter une demande au titre du Paiement d’expérience commune (PEC) et au titre du Processus d’évaluation indépendant (PEI) en vertu de la Convention de règlement relative aux pensionnats.
Cette séance d’information vise à fournir des renseignements contextuels, renseignements qui ne pourront être attribués à qui que ce soit.
Le lundi 23 juillet 2012
Pour participer à la téléconférence :
Attaché de presse
Cabinet de l’honorable John Duncan
Ligne infomédias d’AADNC
Please be advised that officials from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat will be available by teleconference to answer questions of a technical nature related to the upcoming deadline for applications for the Common Experience Payment (CEP) and Independent Assessment Process (IAP) under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) for former Indian Residential School Students.
This briefing is meant for background purposes and is not for attribution.
Monday, July 23, 2012
For more information:
Office of the Honourable John Duncan
AANDC Media Relations Line
People who would prefer that unpleasant aspects of our history remain buried probably won't approve of plans to create a national memorial to native children who died at residential schools.
Allow me to disturb those sensibilities a little more.
I think that new memorial at Shingwauk Hall should be promoted as part of Sault Ste. Marie's tourism infrastructure, along with attractions such as the Old Stone House and the Bushplane Heritage Centre.
The site of the Sault's old residential school is to be dedicated as a memorial Aug. 3 by Marie Wilson, commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today offered congratulations to Wilton Littlechild who was appointed Chairperson of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) at the commencement of the 5th Session on EMRIP this week.
“On behalf of the Assembly of First Nations and the national executive, I offer congratulations to Mr. Littlechild on this recent appointment,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. “As an experienced and effective expert and advocate on Treaty rights, inherent rights and human rights, Mr. Littlechild is well deserving of this honour and I have every confidence he will carry out his responsibilities with great distinction and enthusiasm.”
For the first time in my life, I felt ashamed of being Canadian. I was in a Saskatchewan community centre, with tears of sadness streaming down my face.
The scene was a Truth and Reconciliation Commission public event in La Ronge, a small rural community in northern Saskatchewan. The commission was created through the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the largest class-action settlement in Canadian history.
On June 11, 2008, the prime minister apologized to the First Nations, Inuit and Métis people who were forced to attend the Indian Residential Schools. The commission is holding sessions across the country for survivors to share their experiences and the national closing ceremony will be held in Ottawa. This opportunity for survivors is unique in the history of reconciliation movements.
I felt an immediate sense of discomfort even upon being invited to attend. While I knew the commission was public, was it really open to non-aboriginal Canadians? Would I be witnessing private moments intended for the community itself? Was I really welcome?
Carl Bird, emcee at the Peguis First Nation Commemorative Gathering of Indian Residential School Survivors, reminds the audience that healing comes in many forms, and laughter is foremost. Also included on that list are dancing, singing, yawning, sweating — and crying.
Healing was the focus of the gathering July 12-14 and an integral part of addresses made by keynote speakers and other dignitaries. How that healing can happen and how it can facilitate reconciliation was the topic of workshops and sharing groups. Key words heard repeatedly included truth and forgiveness. History was made and shared at the gathering. Chief Glenn Hudson reminded the group that Peguis First Nation is first in Manitoba to host such a gathering, and they were the original signatories of Treaty 1. “We’re resilient,” he stated. “It’s about our children and our future.”
A unique online archive in Sault Ste. Marie is helping residential school survivors and their families reconnect with a troubling past that has often been out of reach.
Several times a week, staff at the Shingwauk Residential School Centre say they receive an e-mail or a phone call from someone who has been able to discover and download a record of their time at residential school.
That didn't happen in the analogue days, when someone researching their own past could expect to travel to another city only to spend hours or weeks searching through vaguely labelled documents. That's if the person even knew where to begin to look.
“Old-school archival research . . . could mean going through weeks and weeks of data and not finding anything,” said Ken Hernden, librarian at Algoma University, where the archive's servers are located, and where the physical documents, photos, and artifacts are stored.
The Shingwauk centre is a joint effort by Algoma U. and the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association, which represents survivors from Shingwauk Hall residential school. Over the last two years, the centre's staff have stocked its custom database with roughly five terabytes of data - 24,000 photos and hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, mostly from residential schools in Ontario, but also including some records from Alberta, northern Quebec, and the arctic. It is all freely available online, and searchable by name, date, location, school name and keywords.
Gary Merasty sees the challenges ahead in bringing aboriginal employment up to the same level as the general population, but he also sees it as an opportunity.
The mostly untapped potential of First Nations and Metis youth can give Saskatchewan a competitive advantage, Merasty told a panel discussion on workforce development at the Pacific Northwest Economic Region's (PNWER) annual summit on Tuesday in Saskatoon.
Merasty is vice-president of corporate social responsibility with Cameco. He is also part of the panel on the Joint Task Force on Improving Education and Employment Outcomes for First Nations and Metis people in Saskatchewan.
"There have been numerous experiments on First Nation education over the last 100 years - assimilationist policies, integration, residential school - all failures," Merasty said.
"The only system, the only experiment, that has had some level of success was when First Nations said, 'We are taking our kids out of these residential schools and we are going to educate them on reserve.' That was the birth of the First Nation education system in the '70s.
"The system itself is not perfect, but it has been the only one that has generated literally from zero graduation rates to 40 (per cent). There is still a gap, but going from zero to 40 in about 20 years is massive."
Peterborough’s CHEX Newswatch has produced a 45-minute documentary about the history of the Indian residential schools in Canada and the challenges of healing and reconciliation between aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples
“Silent Thunder: The Search for Truth and Reconciliation,” includes three former students of residential schools in Ontario, who talk about their experiences at the church-run, federally-funded institutions. They include Freddy Taylor, a well-known native artist, who spent 10 years at the Mohawk Institute, an Indian residential school in Brantford, Ont.
A story Mike Cachagee heard in northwestern Ontario a number of years ago has always stuck with the 73-year-old residential school survivor.
Cachagee was with a group of people talking about their experiences with Indian residential schools, when one man told how he hid in the bush as a child and watched, one Sunday, as a float plane took the children from his small remote community away to residential school.
One of those children on the plane was the man's brother.
“He said all he can recall is watching the plane take off and watching it and watching it and watching it until it disappeared. It was a little speck, and then 'poof,' he couldn't see it anymore,” said Cachagee.
It was the last time the man saw his brother, who would later die at residential school.
“How many times has that happened across the country?” said Cachagee, a member of the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association and one of those who helped found the organization.
It is for all those children, like that man's brother, who were spirited off to residential schools never to be seen by their families again, that Shingwauk Hall, its cemetery, and the Bishop Fauquier Memorial Chapel, will serve as a national memorial, following a dedication next month.
On June 21 – 24, 2012, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) held the Saskatchewan National Event at Prairieland Park. Approximately 25, 000 people attended the event over the four days, including 800 students. There were displays set up that explained the timeline of the residential schools and its long term effects on first Nations people. Other displays explained some of the cultural practices of First Nations people and their importance within the culture. On the Sunday, many local churches encouraged their members to attend the National Event in place of attending church.
Ehrlo Counselling’s Shelley Tamaki participated in the National Event. Her role in this event was that of a mental health therapist. She helped debrief survivors after they made their statements. She was also available to listen to survivors who were not yet ready to give formal statements and to bear witness to the stories of residential school survivors.
Yesterday I had the privilege of participating in a sharing circle for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. A few years ago, our government apologized to our First Nations people for the injustice that had been done for generations, when young children were taken away from their families and forced to live in residential schools. These circles offer all of us an opportunity to seek healing as a country.
In the circle, we were asked to share how we had personally been impacted by residential schools, what we believe reconciliation means, and how our countries and communities can heal. Only a few of the people in the circle had been to residential schools themselves, but all of us have been impacted by the deep wounds our country bears.
I sat with tears in my eyes as I listened to the stories. One woman shared about how bewildered she’d been as a four year old when her older sister had disappeared from their home, and then how she too had one day disappeared. Another women talked about the abuse she’d suffered at the hands of her alcoholic husband who’d been a residential school survivor. A young man, who works as a videographer at sharing circles like this one, talked about how the priests and nuns at some of these schools had put needles into the tongues of children who were caught speaking their indigenous language while at school.
Almost every First Nations person who talked expressed the shame that the residential schools system had instilled in their culture. Whether they’d been to residential schools themselves or been raised by parents or grandparents who were survivors, each and every one of them carried the burden of being an oppressed people, made to feel less than their oppressors. It was a painful reminder that healing from oppression takes many generations.
Leaders Ledger – Webequie First Nation Residential School Survivor Team (WRRST) is proud to announce we will be hosting Mamowpiimoosaywiin, Walking Forward Together. Funded in partnership with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada/Government of Canada, Mamowpiimoosaywiin is our first annual commemorative celebration of remembrance and recovery, organized in honour of Indian Residential School survivors and their families.
We are requesting your assistance to help defray the costs of food, gas/oil, and travel in support of our August 13th to 25th community development event. We are accepting of financial or in-kind support. Monetary, material, and other in-kind supports of $1,000 or more will be formally acknowledged at the event and, where appropriate, in project announcements, publications, reports, and evaluations.
Receipts will be issued for monetary contributions over $20.
An information session will be held on Saturday, July 15, for victims of abuse at residential schools who may be entitled to compensation from the Government of Canada.
The Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness, in association with the Centre for Excellence at the Six Nations Reserve, will assist victims in understanding, developing and submitting an application as part of a group process.
The two-hour session will begin at 2 p.m. at 1573 Tuscarora Rd in Ohsweken. There is no cost to take part. The deadline for submitting an application for compensation is Sept. 19.
Contact Ginette Gaudreau at 519-445-1793 or e-mail email@example.com for more information or to register.
First Nations leaders plan to continue an intensive ground search around the old Pelican Lake Indian Residential School near Sioux Lookout, Ont., where 15 children were reported missing over several decades, in spite of news that what they've found so far are animal remains.
A two-week hunt through the dense bush has uncovered what many believed were the remains of children who disappeared while attending residential school.
The Ontario coroner's office viewed the contents of a cardboard box of bone fragments collected by a search party. On Wednesday, forensic anthropologist Kathy Gruspier ruled the remains were "non-human."
"I don’t often give a species, but it was obvious that there were a number of species represented, some bear, moose or cow. It looked like there were some pig's feet. It looks like some of the remains were butchered," she said.
The chief of the First Nation closest to the old residential school said he felt "defeated" by what Gruspier had to say.
"I felt kind of sunken; it was very emotional for me," Lac Seul Chief Clifford Bull said.
"I thought one or two might have been human. But that doesn’t mean we've given up," he added. "We're going to go ahead and widen the search."
Works by indigenous artists from the North who mix and match traditional materials and approaches with con-temporary ideas are being show-cased until early August at an artist-run gallery in east Vancouver.
Although the group exhibition is a small one that focuses on the work of four artists, the exhibition is innovative in its reframing of art produced by the Inuit. Traditionally, works by artists from the north are shown in private galleries, where the focus is on selling work for the market. The exhibition at the publicly funded grunt gallery is shifting and expanding that focus to present work that pushes the boundaries of Inuit art.
One of the works speaks to a personal trauma experienced by many Inuit and indigenous people who were abused at residential schools and other institutions. At the end of the display shelf is a big stone high-heel shoe with a blossom on the front. Bigger and bulkier than the other works nearby, it has a real presence in the exhibition space.
Cape Dorset artist Pitseolak said it came from a dark place inside him. Initially reluctant to talk about it during The Sun's visit to the gallery, he said he made the shoe to help get something out of his system.
The history and inter-generational impacts of the IRSs have been studied by Native/Indigenous Studies students for the last 20 years in universities across the country. It is a difficult subject for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, one that brings up a range of emotions and a burning need to tell the rest of the world and to “do something.” The legacy of the Indian Residential School system impacts us all one way or another. The suffering and damage experienced by the survivors; the experiences of survivors’ children and grandchildren who grew up in traumatized families; the anger and remorse of non-Indigenous peoples who had no idea of the genocide occurring in their own backyards.
When talks began for the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) National Event in Saskatchewan we planned to participate, but we also wanted to commemorate the survivors by making a contribution. Our Native Studies 430.3 course, “Issues in Cultural Preservation,” focused on researching the IRSs in Saskatchewan. The result of our work so far is the exhibit “Pictorial Histories of the Indian Residential Schools in Saskatchewan” which was on display at the TRC National Event. The exhibit is made up of 21 large posters depicting IRS life as we interpreted it through our research into the archives and photographs.
We focused on historical photographs because they visually capture an experience or event at the moment and provide insight into the lived experiences of their human subjects. They are often described as ‘windows of the soul’ because they trigger many more memories than the ones depicted and through that can help tell our personal and collective stories.
The majority of bishops' conferences in the Americas, Europe and Asia have complied with a Vatican mandate to draw up anti-abuse guidelines, said the Vatican's top investigator of clerical sex abuse.
Without counting Africa, "more than half of the conferences responded" by the May deadline, Msgr. Charles Scicluna of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said in an interview with the Italian monthly Catholic magazine Jesus.
Countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and Germany are among those with the most comprehensive and binding guidelines or norms, but in many cases, those norms came only in the wake of revelations in the media of abuse, U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada said.
The head of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission had a message for Canada’s Education Ministers.
Justice Murray Sinclair spoke to the group in Halifax during their one day meeting.
APTN’s Tim Fontaine now with the details.
An emotionally charged gathering has just wrapped up on the Blood Reserve in Alberta.
Thousands of residential school survivors came out to learn the fate of their compensation claims.
Investigators recently found they were being fleeced by their lawyers.
Now a former judge is meeting with surivivors, trying to explain what’s happening with their cases.
But as APTN’s Noemi Lopinto reports, his words were little comfort.
Les ministres provinciaux et territoriaux de l'Éducation étaient à Halifax cette semaine pour la 100e réunion de leur organisation intergouvernementale de longue date, le Conseil des ministres de l'Éducation (Canada) [CMEC].
L'apprentissage au XXIe siècle était le thème déterminant de la réunion d'Halifax, où les ministres ont discuté de divers dossiers de l'éducation :
Éducation des Autochtones : perspectives d'avenir
L'éducation des Autochtones continue d'occuper une large place dans les discussions du CMEC. Les ministres ont réitéré leur détermination à améliorer les résultats des apprenantes et apprenants autochtones grâce à des initiatives provinciales et territoriales individuelles, en coopération avec leurs partenaires locaux, et à l'échelle pancanadienne, par l'entremise du CMEC.
Les ministres ont été heureux d'accueillir le juge Murray Sinclair, président de la Commission de vérité et réconciliation du Canada. M. Sinclair a informé les ministres des progrès des importants travaux de cette commission.
« Au nom de tous mes collègues du CMEC, je souhaite remercier le juge Sinclair de l'important travail que lui et ses collègues accomplissent au service de l'équité et de la justice pour les peuples autochtones », a dit M. Jackson Lafferty, ministre de l'Éducation, de la Culture et de l'Emploi des Territoires du Nord‑Ouest.
Les provinces et les territoires ont manifesté leur intention de s'entretenir avec le gouvernement fédéral sur l'éducation des Autochtones, y compris sur les mesures annoncées dans le récent budget fédéral.
Provincial and territorial ministers of education were in Halifax this week for the 100th meeting of their long-standing intergovernmental body, the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC).
Twenty-first century learning was the defining theme of the Halifax meeting, where ministers exchanged on a number of education-related topics:
Aboriginal Education: Moving forward
Aboriginal education continued to feature prominently in discussions at CMEC. Ministers reiterated their commitment to improving outcomes for Aboriginal learners through individual provincial and territorial initiatives, in cooperation with local stakeholders, and at the pan-Canadian level, through CMEC.
Ministers were pleased to welcome the Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Justice Sinclair provided ministers with an update on the important work of the commission.
“On behalf of all my colleagues at CMEC, I want to thank Justice Sinclair for the important work he and his colleagues are doing in the service of equity and justice for Aboriginal peoples,” said the Honourable Jackson Lafferty, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment for Northwest Territories.
It was noted that provinces and territories are looking forward to discussions with the federal government on Aboriginal education, including discussions on the measures announced in the recent federal budget.
The chief of the Blood Tribe is one of thousands who attended residential schools. Like many others, Chief Charles Weaselhead wants to put closure on what is described as a black mark in Canadian history. Unfortunately, closure is still years away for hundreds of blood tribe residents.
A Calgary law firm which represented clients from the blood reserve will no longer be involved in the process of filing claims under the Indian residential school settlement agreement. Between 35 - hundred and 5 - thousand claims through the independent assessment and claim process were represented by the legal firm of blot and company.
A retired Supreme Court Judge from BC, now handling part of the Indian Residental Schools Claims case, was in Stand Off Wednesday. A month ago, a court ruled that legal firm Blott and Company will not longer be involved in the claims process as part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Retired Judge Ian Pitfield says he's been given the task of finding new lawyers for those people who were being represented by that legal firm. He says the Blood Reserve has one of the largest groups of claiments in Alberta. He says he wants to let people on the reserve know that he's a person not just appointed by the Courts, but to right the wrong that's been done by the bad legal representation those claiments have received in the past.
Provincial education ministers will meet with a prominent First Nations representative Friday to discuss better ways of educating Canadians about aboriginal issues, amid what some call a continued widespread ignorance of the challenges facing First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.
A Postmedia News poll released earlier this week suggested most Canadians think aboriginals are both well-treated and well-funded by the federal government, a view not held by many aboriginal leaders who routinely grapple with poverty and social problems among their people.
Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), will meet with the education ministers in Halifax on Friday.
As head of the TRC, set up by the federal government in 2009 with a five-year mandate, he is charged with documenting the history of Canada's residential school system, which forced 150,000 native children away from their communities and families into government-funded, churchrun institutions where many were gravely abused.
He is also mandated to educate the general public about that legacy.
Members of the Blood Tribe in southern Alberta say a retired B.C. judge’s visit to their community has renewed some faith in the settlement process for Indian residential school survivors.
Ian Pitfield met with members of the tribe this week to reassure them that their compensation claims for sexual and physical abuse will be dealt with properly.
Last month, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled a Calgary law firm could no longer represent more than 5,600 survivors across Canada seeking federal compensation.
Justice Brenda Brown wrote that Blott and Co.’s operations were undeniably “designed to maximize economies of scale.” She also said Blott didn’t treat clients as people who had suffered trauma, didn’t provide timely or adequate legal advice and helped arrange high-interest loans for some clients with lending companies.
“The integrity of the system has to be restored,” Rick Tailfeathers, a Blood Tribe spokesman, said Thursday.
“There is a sense of being retraumatized by the lawyer because they have to go through the process of disclosing information again. There is a sense of abandonment that they were just numbers. The human factor was not very strong.”
APTN’s Noemi Lopinto joined APTN National News anchor Cheryl McKenzie from the Blood reserve in Alberta to discuss the Blott case. (This text introduces a video report.)
A small group of people gathered at the Tipi Village for the lighting of the Sacred Fire to begin the official opening of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) National Event in Saskatoon on Thursday, June 21.
Residential School Survivors made their way to the Tipi Village to begin the Survivor’s Walk from the Village to the grandstand at Prairieland Park for the official opening ceremonies of the four-day event.
Throughout three days of the event hundreds of residential school survivors from across the country shared their stories of the pain of being forced to attend residential school.
Stories of abuse, physical, sexual, emotional and spiritual; the loss of language and culture; loss of parenting skills; loss of identity; and loneliness were common threads among the stories.
Brothers Charlie and Thomas Oombash left Cat Lake First Nation in 1956 to attend Pelican Lake Indian Residential School. They never returned to the community.
The Oombash family has been wondering what became of them ever since.
That is what prompted the family and community to begin a search of the former school grounds in early June 2012.
The family wrote letters to Northern Nishnawbe Education Council, Canadian National Railroad, Ontario Provincial Police and others who would be affected by the search.
Searchers arrived at the former school grounds and were given houses to reside in while they searched for remains of their loved ones.
A spiritual leader and descendent of the missing brothers, Allan Oombash, was among them.
Early in the search the party found eleven bones. The bones have been sent back to Cat Lake First Nation.
Retired B.C. Supreme Court judge Ian Pitfield is determined to set things right for residential school claimants represented by Calgary lawyer David Blott.
"I've been spending 12- and 14-hour days in Calgary trying to sort out this mess and trying to get a handle on how I'm going to proceed going forward," Pitfield said Wednesday in Blood Tribe council chambers. "One of the reasons I'm here is that I am very mindful. . . of what has happened between the Government of Canada and the First Nations in our communities across the country. I'm determined to do everything I can to try to demonstrate that there's more good than there is bad by far, firstly in this settlement and secondly in the legal community across the country who are dealing with these problems."
Pitfield visited the Blood Reserve to assure Blott clients he is working on their behalf to make sure they receive a fair settlement. He was appointed by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Brenda Brown to oversee the transfer of Blott's files to other lawyers after she ruled Blott could no longer represent claimants in the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) of the Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
Dark secrets and brave humour are the explosive chemistry of the upcoming 38th season of Theatre Network in Edmonton , says artistic director Bradley Moss.
After the season opener comes another show, of the blisteringly funny/honest variety. Where the Blood Mixes by Kevin Loring is a collaboration with Hamilton’s Theatre Aquarius and Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops. The Governor General’s Award-winning play follows a family through several generations of loss and dysfunction, a story through which the residential school legacy threads its ugly way. It’s not an “issue play,” though, director Moss say of the piece, set during a salmon run, full of vivid colour, poetry and unexpected humour. “A world of images for a director,” he says happily. His production reunites Craig Lauzon and Lorne Cardinal, last together at the Roxy in Thunderstick. Cory Sincennes designs.
Sentencing submissions for a blind, medal winning former paralympian convicted of sexual assault have been delayed after his counsel asked for a report on the impact of his upbringing.
The fate for Keith Myette, found guilty last October of groping a former female roommate, was put on hold Tuesday after his lawyer, Brendan Miller, learned his client had a close relative who attended a Native residential school.
Myette won a bronze medal in the blind 800 metre run in the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul, South Korea.
Miller asked the court for a Gladue report, outlining the background and circumstances into Myette’s upbringing, to be made prior to the completion of his sentencing hearing.
Gladue reports outline special circumstances facing many Aboriginal offenders and their over-representation in the justice system.
Judge Heather Lamoureux suspended the sentencing hearing to allow for the probe to unfold.
Lamoureux said studies have shown the effects of abuse to some residential school students have filtered down to their children, and onto their grandchildren.
Residential school survivors are getting a lot of attention, understanding that a lot of them have gone through hell and back.
But who is compensating the young girls and boys who have been sexually, physically and mentally abused at home? Prior to the 1990s, children who were abused by parents or their relatives were overlooked in the majority of cases.
These children grow and survive on their own. Some are strong enough to overcome the worst of what was supposed to be a loving and trusting environment. There is nothing offered to these survivors, just a "glad you can overcome." What about those who were not strong enough, and have turned to drugs and alcohol, some not surviving at all?
FAR from the hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for First Nations residential schools, a survivor and her daughter's meeting in Winnipeg became a private reunion with a guidance counsellor from her school days.
There was no anger, no bitterness. Only hugs, coffee and memories.
Oxford House Cree Nation resident Sadie North is a 64-year-old grandmother and her days in Portage la Prairie at an Indian residential school are 50 years behind her.
But she never forgot the counsellor who befriended her and the homesick Cree children from Manitoba's north.
North said she remembered Betty Ann Caldwell because of her kindness, and for months she looked forward to the reunion, which was arranged by her daughter in Winnipeg.
Caldwell welcomed North and her daughter into her highrise apartment overlooking the Assiniboine River for coffee. The two fell into each other's arms as North stepped off the elevator.
"Your voice was familiar," Caldwell told North as the women embraced.
Faith Jackson knew members of her father’s and mother’s families had attended residential schools. She didn’t know much about what the actual experience was like so she made it the topic of her Heritage Fair presentation.
Then Okanagan Heritage Fair co-ordinator Pat Simmons suggested she enter the Young Citizens Heritage Project, which lets students digitally share historic milestones that matter most to them.
Jackson, a Grade 6 student at BX Elementary School, chose to interview her grandmother and aunts and uncles about their experiences in residential schools.
A woman came up to me at a book signing in Winnipeg recently. She was smiling, but there was a shine in her eyes that most people who meet me on book tours don't have.
She walked up confidently. She spoke quietly. She said she had driven a long way to see me. There was something vaguely familiar about her, but I could not place her face. She told me her name and I was floored.
She was my foster sister from my second foster home. Her name is Cyndy and we had not seen each other in 47 years. We hugged and the feeling of reconnection was amazing. When we were kids, we played together all the time, and until I reconnected with my blood sister, she is what I equated with that word. I had always held her fondly in my memory.
I am a survivor of the Sixties Scoop. I was one of thousands of aboriginal kids who were scooped up by government social workers and placed in foster care. Canadians do not hear nearly enough about that practice. It overlapped the residential school era and shared the devastating impact on aboriginal communities. Some residential school survivors returned home only to later have their children taken away from them through the Sixties Scoop. That's what happened to me.
For those who told their stories, and for those who listened, the Saskatchewan National Event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), held in Saskatoon 21-24 June, was a cathartic experience. At the close of the event, the thousands who attended—Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal—went home with new insights into an appalling era in Canadian history that continues to cast a shadow on the present.
The TRC was established as part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the largest class-action settlement in Canadian history, which resulted from suits brought by former students against the federal government and the churches that administered the residential schools. The TRC has the mandate to learn about the residential school experience and to inform all Canadians.
More than 150,000 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children were placed in these schools, often against their parents' wishes. Most were forbidden to speak their own language or practice their culture, and many were systematically brutalized. There are an estimated 80,000 former students living today; however, the residential schools have had an impact on successive generations and contributed to persistent social problems.
Regional Hearings continue in Saskatchewan. On June 3 and 4, the TRC will be in Buffalo Narrows to hear from Survivors, both direct and intergenerational, and other community members as they share their experiences with Residential School and its legacy.
All members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend or watch the live webcast and bear witness to the truth being shared.
Amid the statments gathered, the ceremonies and the tearful reunions, the forward momentum toward reconciliation continued at the Saskatchewan National Event. Tasked with witnessing and bringing what they learn back to their respective spheres of influence, five new Honourary Witnesses were named over the course of the four-day Event. Former federal MPand actress Tina Keeper and former Prime Minister Joe Clark joined Sheila Fraser, Mayor Jim Scarrow and Sir Sidney Mead of New Zealand as Honourary Witnesses.
Click on the name of each Honourary Witnesses to find out more about them.
The next National Event will be held in Québec in the spring of 2013.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) announced today a contribution from IBM Canada and the Aboriginal Human Resource Council (AHRC) that will assist the TRC to preserve and protect the statements of thousands of Indian Residential School Survivors.
“IBM Canada, in collaboration with the AHRC’s charitable arm, is providing the TRC with high-performance servers and increased storage capacity that make it possible for the TRC to fully meet its mandate in terms of the preservation and accessibility of Survivors’ statements,” said Kim Murray, Executive Director of the TRC.
This collaboration brings together: IBM Canada’s commitment to support education, culture and communities in need; AHRC’s goals to educate employers and support residential school survivors so they can move forward to further their education and employment; and the TRC’s mandate to inform Canadians about the experiences of Indian Residential School Survivors, in part by preserving their statements and making them available for future generations to study and learn from.
From June 21 to 24, laughter, tears, songs and stories were in the air at Prairieland Park, where the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada held its fourth national event. Survivors who gave statements about their experiences and participants who witnessed the event reiterated the importance of documenting and understanding the truth of residential school history. But on the reconciliation of that history, consensus was not even on the horizon.
“There were approximately 15,000 survivors registered for this event,” Commissioner and residential school survivor Chief Wilton Littlechild told the crowd gathered for the closing ceremonies of the national event. “And there has been a lot of truth-telling.”
Half of the estimated number of living residential school survivors in Saskatchewan, the registration was the largest to date. Countless others also attended the event and more than 5,000 viewers from countries around the world tuned in to the live webcast.
Re: Residential schools harmed generations (SP, June 25). The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has once again reminded us of the depth of depravity to which government and religious institutions can stoop, even in our so-called civilized society.
While apologies and financial compensation have endeavoured to acknowledge the wrongs of this deplorable blot on our nation's history, I find it incomprehensible that the leadership of the day did not see beyond the ineffectiveness of the residential school experiment, which was only exacerbated by the sadistic and perverse conduct of many in charge.
The title "Little Savage" imposed on Neva Mirasty could much more appropriately be applied to the perpetrators of such unbridled abuse. The bright light and miracle of the Mirasty story comes in her discovery of the real truth in scripture and a resulting relationship with a loving, healing God - totally disassociated from the carnage perpetrated by many under the guise of religion.
Robert Tauber Saskatoon
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is marking one year since it held its first national event in the Northwest Territories.
The June 2011hearing in Inuvik was a turning point for many former students and families affected by abuse and cultural loss at residential schools.
Since then, the commission has held two other major hearings and launched the historical publication They Came for the Children, which examines the history of residential schools. It also tabled a report with 20 recommendations, addressing education, health and commemoration.
The history and legacy of residential schools is almost a footnote in the Canadian history taught in public schools across the country. But along with grassroots initiatives, two territorial governments in Northern Canada are working to incorporate that history into elementary and high school curriculum.
Most students in Alberta and other provinces learn next to nothing about the residential school system that was in place for over a century, with lasting impacts on First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities across the country. Now over halfway through its five-year mandate to document the history of Indian Residential Schools, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada seeks to change that.
The commission held an Education Day last Friday, part of its four-day national event in Saskatoon. Nearly 2000 Grade 7 and 8 students from the Saskatoon public and Catholic school divisions as well as First Nations schools throughout Saskatchewan participated in educational activities about residential schools and heard from residential school survivors.
A special guest speaker made a moving presentation on the resiliency of the human spirit at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s national event in Saskatoon.
APTN National News reporter Larissa Burnouf has this story. (This text introduces a video report.)