December 15, 2015
(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde, along with AFN Nova Scotia/Newfoundland Regional Chief Morley Googoo and AFN Québec/Labrador Regional Chief Ghislain Picard, participated today in the release of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) examining the history and legacy of Indian residential schools in Canada.
“Today marks the conclusion of an historic journey for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and I commend all former students who showed courage in sharing their stories,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “We are committing ourselves to the hard work of reconciliation in honour of the former students and for our future generations.”
At today’s event, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that true reconciliation goes beyond the scope of the TRC’s Calls to Action and pledged to work with First Nations, Indigenous leaders, provinces and territories and all key parties to design a national engagement strategy for developing and implementing a national reconciliation framework, informed by the TRC’s recommendations
“First Nations are ready to engage on a National Reconciliation Framework as part of our efforts to give life to real reconciliation,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “It’s up to each and everyone one of us to act now to ensure we never repeat the mistakes of the past and move forward together in partnership. Our work will be guided by our nation-to-nation relationship and the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Together, we can close the gap.”
The final report released today completes the work of the TRC which was mandated in the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement of 2007, and follows the June 2015 release of its 94 Calls to Action. The TRC heard from more than 6,000 witnesses during its hearings.
“I acknowledge and thank TRC Chair Justice Murray Sinclair and Commissioners Chief Wilton Littlechild and Dr. Marie Wilson for their work and dedication to truth-seeking and truth-telling,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “They have shared a path to reconciliation, and I invite all Canadians to join us on this journey.”
The AFN is a party to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement that led to the creation of the TRC. The federal government has committed to working with First Nations and Indigenous peoples to implement the Calls to Action.
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.