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Discover: Truth & Reconciliation (Sub-Module 4 of 8 of Discover Module)

Learning about and acknowledging the truth is one of the steps towards genuine reconciliation. As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission stated in their final report, "Without truth, justice, and healing, there can be no genuine reconciliation. Reconciliation is not about 'closing a sad chapter of Canada’s past,' but about opening new healing pathways of reconciliation that are forged in truth and justice."



"Reconciliation is about establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this country. For that to happen, there has to be awareness of the past, acknowledgement of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes, and action to change behaviour." - Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The official discussion on the idea of reconciliation began in 1998 when the federal government responded to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, which included a chapter on residential schools. The government's response was called Gathering Strength: Canada's Aboriginal Action Plan. This document included a Statement of Reconciliation where the federal government acknowledged its role in the creation and management of residential schools and the development of policies to assimilate Indigenous Peoples. During the release of the report, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Jane Stewart also announced the federal government's commitment of $350 million for community-based healing as a first step to to address the legacy of abuse left by the residential school system. In 2008, Canada's official apology for residential schools was delivered by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. (Canadian Encyclopedia)

Source: Reconciliation in Canada (Canadian Encyclopedia)

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Video: Senator Murray Sinclair on Reconciliation

Former senator Murray Sinclair talks about reconciliation.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report

In 2008, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was formed. The Commission was a result of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement that recognized the suffering and trauma experienced by students at residential schools and provided compensation to Survivors. The TRC was assigned to complete several tasks, including creating a national research centre, collecting documents from the government and churches, conducting research on residential schools, and issuing a final report (The Canadian Encyclopedia).

In 2015, the TRC released their final report. This report identified the residential school system as a means of cultural genocide. The report includes the experiences of over 150,000 Survivors of the Canadian residential school system. In the TRC's research, they found that many of the Survivors experienced physical and sexual abuse inside the residential schools (The Canadian Encyclopedia).

Source: Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CIRNAC) 

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Video: Justice Murray Sinclair talks about the the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Justice Murray Sinclair, former senator and former chair of the TRC, talks about the the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

94 Calls to Action

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