After six years of testimony and research, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its 94 recommendations aimed to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the progress of Canadian Reconciliation.
Most of Canada received the report with an increased sense of understanding of what transpired for Canada’s Indigenous peoples during and following more than a century of assimilation, abuse and murder within the Canadian government’s residential school program. Although this history is no surprise for Canada’s Indigenous communities, the commission’s work has amplified the many stories of children being taken from their homes, mistreated and, in many cases, killed. The report did not mince words when it called the residential school system one of cultural genocide.
Some, however, seem untouched by the report’s findings and prefer to ignore these historic wrong-doings. Prime Minister Stephen Harper refused to say more than that the government had already apologized, and generally dismissed the recommendations. His Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Bernard Valcourt, sat in first row of the press conference and was the only person not to stand during a room-wide ovation when the recommendations were presented.
Unfortunately, much work remains to pressure governments, institutions and various communities to implement the recommendations of this historical commission. This report is not the end of a process, but only the beginning – a small step towards justice for the Indigenous peoples of Canada. If you haven’t read the recommendations for yourself, consider it required reading.
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