National Chief Atleo welcomes involvement of Governor General in Truth and Reconciliation Process
OTTAWA, Oct. 15 – “Today marks another milestone along the long and painful path towards truth and reconciliation for survivors of Indian Residential Schools,” stated AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. “I commend Governor General Michaelle Jean for her courage in being an honorary witness to some of the survivors’ stories. This day will not soon be forgotten by our Peoples.”It has been over a year since the Prime Minister’s Apology to survivors and 18 months since the original launch of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC),” said National Chief Atleo. “Canada accepted full responsibility for the devastating effects of residential schools. Now, the long wait to tell the truth is over. The survivors of these schools, many of whom have spent decades struggling to cope with their ordeals, will finally be able to go on the record with their experiences.”
“These remaining survivors will also bear witness on behalf of the many thousands who have died along the way — either as young victims while still in school, or as victims of violence and addiction during their troubled adult lives,” said Kathleen McHugh, chair of the AFN Women’s Council, who was present at today’s ceremony. “These survivors will also speak on behalf of the thousands who have passed on since this process began in 2007.”
The TRC is an independent body that will oversee a process that will provide former students, and anyone affected by the Indian Residential Schools legacy, with an opportunity to share their individual experiences in a safe and culturally appropriate manner. The first meeting will be held in Winnipeg this spring.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.
For further information: Bryan Hendry, AFN Communications at (613) 241-6789 ext 229 or bhendry[at]afn.ca