Assembly of First Nations Welcomes Court Decision in St. Anne's Residential Schools Case Calling on Federal Government to Disclose Documents Related to Residential Schools: "Truth is Essential to Reconciliation"

OTTAWA, Jan. 15, 2014 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today welcomed the decision by the Ontario Superior Court compelling the Government of Canada to release documents related to St. Anne's Residential School, and acknowledged the importance of disclosing all relevant documents related to Indian Residential Schools to survivors and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in order to advance truth-telling, reconciliation and healing for First Nations and Canadians.

"The release and disclosure of documents related to residential schools is an essential part of the truth-telling process and truth is essential to reconciliation," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo.  "We want to see all jurisdictions release the necessary documents so the TRC can fulfill its mandate.  This should not require extensive legal battles as it is consistent with the residential schools settlement agreement and the overarching goal of reconciliation for First Nations and Canada.  This court decision is a significant step in terms of addressing outstanding questions and we hope it will help survivors and their families in their healing journey and help all Canadians understand our shared history."

Last week, the Government of British Columbia released documents to the TRC that could help provide information on First Nations children who died in residential schools in that province.  The Government of Ontario has also willingly released many documents related to residential schools, but the federal government has tried to prevent the release of documents related to St. Anne's.

Yesterday, Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell ordered the Government of Canada to produce documents to survivors and the TRC related specifically to a criminal investigation into physical and sexual abuse by former employees at St. Anne's Residential School in Fort Albany First Nation. The ruling represents the second time in the past 12 months that the Ontario supervising Judge has found the Government of Canada has failed to comply with the terms of the 2007 Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement and its obligations to produce documents to residential school survivors and the TRC.

For more information on the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, recently extended until June 2015, please visit www.trc.ca.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information:

Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or jyoung@afn.ca

Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or agaron@afn.ca