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The pain of the past was relived in Terrace this week, by several survivors of Canada's notorious Native Residential Schools.
The federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission held two days of hearings at Kitsumkalum Hall.
The stories were heartwrenching -- the memories searing -- and the healing -- uncertain.
While the glass panels of the black ash cabinet are shatterproof, the contents displayed inside represent shattered souls.
Inside the cabinet, the items collectively serve to honour and memorialize former students of the Indian residential school system where incidents of abuse were frequent and frightening.
Each square of a quilt depicts a personal memory, in most cases, if not all, a painful one, of the Shubenacadie Indian residential school. Former students of that school, residents today of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I., came together last fall to create the quilt.
An online database project that has helped Indian Residential School survivors and their families connect with photos and documents from Canada's troubling past received another award this week.
The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre named the Shingwauk Residential School Centre project Innovation Project of the Year at its SSMARt Innovation Awards on Monday night.
“It's really the survivors,” who are responsible for the project, said Ken Hernden, librarian at Algoma University's Wishart Library, where the archive was developed and where its servers are located. “We're just doing what they asked us to do.”
It has been a long road for those dealing with applications to the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement.
The Independent Assessment Process (IAP), designed to compensate survivors for serious abuse suffered in residential schools, impacted many currently living on the Blood Reserve, Piikani Nation and other parts of southern Alberta.
Some of those claimants, represented by David Blott and the Calgary law firm Blott and Company, are taking to the streets of Cardston today at 11 a.m. to rally support for elders and others who feel slighted by the process.
Survival a testament to unimaginable strength
Friday, June 21, was National Aboriginal Day, a day to honour our First Nations citizens. But too often instead of honour, they get disrespect. When people find out I see a lot of First Nations clients, I still get asked, "why can't they get their act together?" This is my answer.
I see a young client who is not doing well in school. He gets himself out the door every morning, some days with breakfast, most not. All the adults in his house are still sleeping, because they are up all night.
In Saalish culture, you can blanket someone to symbolize respect, honour or protection.
It's called blanketing and it was one of the inspirations for the Witness Blanket, a pieced-together sculpture made of elements from across the country. It is the latest work of Victoria based artist Carey Newman.
The Witness Blanket aims to remember residential school survivors.
CANADA'S Truth and Reconciliation Commission has three million documents dealing with the disastrous legacy of Indian residential schools, and five million more are on the way.
What the commission doesn't have is money to build a promised national residential schools research archive.
Reconciliation Canada is calling upon all Canadians to join us in taking part in a historic and unprecedented Walk for Reconciliation on Sept. 22. The two-kilometre or four-kilometre walk routes through the heart of downtown Vancouver are expected to attract 50,000 people.
The walk is a call to action to people of all ages, faiths, cultures and backgrounds to engage and involve themselves in the journey and pathway for reconciliation between all of us.
Mardi à midi, quelques passants avaient déjà découvert la vingtaine de photographies qui témoignent de la réalité des pensionnats autochtones du Canada, sur l'avenue McGill College entre le boulevard de Maisonneuve et l'avenue du Président-Kennedy.
The University of Manitoba is set to become "Canada's national memory" of the country's residential schools and the experience of those who spent their childhood institutionalized there.
The university will house the national research centre for residential schools as part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. A signing ceremony between the university and commission establishing the archive was scheduled to take place Friday morning.
The archive will hold millions of documents collected by the commission including thousands of stories from residential school survivors.
Students at the University of Saskatchewan have helped pave the way for a new understanding of the first nation’s residential school experience through a series of inspired paintings.
The Child Taken is an art project to commemorate the residential school legacy and the children who went through the experience. Elders were asked to share their residential school experiences and the U of S fine arts students expressed those stories through art.
With National Aboriginal Day just around the corner, the Regina Aboriginal Professional Association (RAPA) is hosting a series of events in Regina over the month of June to celebrate and raise awareness of National Aboriginal History Month.
RAPA started the initiative, and in 2007, they were successful in obtaining a local proclamation from the City of Regina. On June 11, 2007, the Government of Saskatchewan made a formal declaration to support the cause. Nationally, on June 4, 2009, the House of Commons offi cially accepted the motion to recognize and celebrate the month as "National Aboriginal History Month."
Five years have passed since the federal government apologized, on behalf of Canada, to all Indian residential school survivors for the abuses they suffered at the schools.
Some survivors believe abuse by the federal government continues, but in a much different form.
Moses Redman, a survivor, waited years for an opportunity to tell his story.
Victoria native artist Carey Newman is weaving a blanket consisting of wood and steel - and stories of residential schools and their First Nations pupils.
It will be about eight metres long and 2 1 /2 metres wide and made of pieces of cedar, strung together with steel cable.
Mounted in the cedar will be artifacts collected from about 130 former residential schools across Canada.
Algoma University is pleased to announce that the Arthur A. Wishart Library and the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre (SRSC) have received the prestigious 2013 Archives Association of Ontario's (AAO) Institutional Award for their integrated approach to the archival endeavour, archival science, and archival enterprise from 2010-12.
The AAO Institutional Award is given to an archival institution that has contributed significantly to the advancement of the archival field or community, or has demonstrated a significant level of innovation and imagination in the establishment of outstanding or model programmes or services. Recognition may be granted for the individual programmes or projects of particular merit or for a programme integrating many facets of archival enterprise.
Five years ago today, I was honoured to be one of the MPs in attendance when the Residential Schools Apology was made in the House of Commons.
This long-awaited apology officially acknowledged that the federal government’s policy of seizing Aboriginal children and placing them in residential schools to remedy the “Indian problem” was not only misguided but has had catastrophic repercussions that cut to the very core of their societies.
Tuesday marks the fifth anniversary of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's historic residential schools apology, but despite the government's stated commitment to reconciliation, critics say the feds still take a unilateral approach to and impose legislation on Canada's aboriginal people.
Assembly of First Nations Chief Sean Atleo says there remains a notion that governments know best for First Nations and have a right to make decisions on their behalf.
"This is incongruent with the apology and other commitments," he said in a statement released Tuesday.
The following statement was issued Tuesday by the Assembly of First Nations.
On the fifth anniversary of Parliament's Apology for Indian Residential Schools, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo called attention to the outstanding requirement for all governments and all Canadians to commit to reconciliation.
It was late fall in 2005 when Alma Jane Bruyere appeared at the door of her grandson’s house in Fort Frances, Ont., carrying in her left hand a lawyer’s letter stating she had qualified for compensation for the abuse she faced while attending an Indian residential school.
She handed the letter to her grandson, Ryan McMahon who is now a well known Indigenous comedian.
“She came, as she often did, unannounced and sort of quietly,” said McMahon. “We sat down at the table and put the tea on.”
ELSIPOGTOG - The Elsipogtog First Nation, a community of about 3,000 members near Rexton, commemorated the survivors of the residential school system Tuesday - not only their past suffering but also the healing and resilience that has led them to where they are today.
The Elsipogtog elders performed several traditional songs for the survivors, community and guests. The survivors then gathered to unveil a new epitaph that will stand outside the Band Office Resource Centre. The epitaph specifically honours the survivors of the Shubenacadie residential school in Nova Scotia, which was the nearest known residential school.
Bernard Valcourt, the federal Aboriginal affairs minister, on June 11 acknowledged the fifth anniversary of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apology to the former students of Aboriginal residential schools and their families.
“The apology acknowledged that the policy of assimilation was wrong, had caused great harm, and has no place in our country,” Valcourt said in a statement.
Harper delivered the apology June 11, 2008 in the House of Commons as dozen Aboriginal leaders, including Mary Simon, then the president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, sat in the house and listened.
Five years after Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s historic apology for the Indian residential school system, the words ring hollow for some who hoped they would represent a new relationship between the federal government and Aboriginal Canadians.
“Progress, where we can see it, feels way too slow,” Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo told Postmedia News. “What we’re seeing is government slow to change their patterns, and we have to see those patterns change dramatically.”
While the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is working to ensure that the stories of the thousands of young children forced to attend Indian Residential Schools are not lost to history, one artist is on a mission to ensure that the inanimate remnants of the sad legacy live on as well.
Carey Newman, a carver from Sooke, B. C. on Vancouver Island, is working on an ambitious goal to collect 2,500 pieces of memorabilia representative of the residential school era and all the parties involved.
Early Wednesday morning, Harry Watchmaker set out on the highway from Red Deer to Edmonton for a meeting. Not far along his journey, he looked up and saw what appeared to be two suns, one on top of the other.
On Saturday, he sung and drummed a song about the sun at the Feast to Remember the Children event.
His connection to the giant life-giving orb seems a natural fit, considering the infectiously sunny disposition of the man from the Kehewin Cree Nation.
A dark chapter in Canadian history is being remembered in Red Deer today as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission public hearings looking at the impact of residential schools got underway.
The national commission was established in 2008 to record stories, educate and help with healing.
An eagle feather and box of tissues were passed around a sharing circle in the Red Deer College gym during the start of the two-day event.
John Sinclair cannot describe what happened in residential schools, but he knows the impact.
Sinclair's grandmother was taken from her family and sent to a government-mandated residential school in Alberta.
On Thursday, the first day of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada hearing at Red Deer College, Sinclair, who lives in Trochu, opened his heart.
The message was loud and clear, “it won’t happen again.”
More than 50 members of the Wasauksing First Nation community and surrounding area attended the unveiling of a black granite turtle monument Saturday morning in memory of the children taken into residential schools.
Following ceremonial singing and drumming, as well as prayer, Wasauksing Chief Warren Tabobondung presented residential school survivor Lila Tabobondung with a blanket representing the Little Butterfly Girl Story: An Indian Residential School Story.
A small First Nation community north of Saskatoon is one step closer to ending a five-year legal battle.
The Lac La Ronge Indian Band has been fighting to have Timber Bay Childrenâ€™s Home included on the national residential school list.
They want compensation for abuses experienced there.
APTN’s Larissa Burnouf travelled to the site and spoke to the first student to attend the school.
Residential school survivors in New Brunswick are talking about the trauma and abuse they faced as children.
Opening up after years of suppressing the memories hasn't happened quickly or easily. A project called We Carry Each Other's Memories has been running since 2003 to address the healing needs of residential school survivors in the province.
Barb Martin, project co-ordinator and manager, said the impact of the residential schools is one of the main reasons for some of the challenges and problems First Nations communities are now trying to address.
Survivors and others affected by the legacy of residential schools will have the chance to share their experiences in Red Deer starting on Thursday.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada will be at Red Deer College for two days. There will be opportunities to speak, read educational displays, watch films and listen to speakers.
These events will run concurrent to the truth-sharing panels. Members of the public are encouraged to learn about the untaught Canadian history and the legacy of Indian Residential Schools.
All around the Diocese of New Westminster communities are praying, learning, and organizing in anticipation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools National Event in September.
St. Hilda’s By the Sea and St. John’s Sunshine Coast (United Church of Canada), together with survivors of the Sechelt and St. George’s Lytton schools and leaders of the Sechelt band learned about the history and legacy of the Indian Residential School in Sechelt through the Project of Heart, a community based collaborative art project.
When Wawahte author Robert Wells first heard the audio version of the book, he was amazed at how similar the readers sounded to the people that first shared their residential school stories with him.
One woman in particular, Sharon Bodan, who read the part of Esther Faries of Constance Lake First Nation, sounded so perfect that Wells could not distinguish between the character and the real life person.
“The voices really added a cadence into the story that made it so authentic,” Wells said. “I just couldn’t believe that I was a part of something that sounded so good.”