National Chief Marks Anniversary of Residential Schools Apology with Call to Action

OTTAWA, June 11, 2012 /CNW/ - On the fourth anniversary of Parliament's Apology for the Indian residential school system, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo continues his call for action now to achieve the change required for reconciliation.

"The apology was a critical moment for all of Canada and requires a full commitment to action and reconciliation," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo.  "Now is the time for action implementing our rights and ensuring First Nations education that is culturally and linguistically relevant and delivers excellence for all of our students.  The integral place of First Nations in Canada's history, economy and future must be affirmed."

The historic apology offered to residential school survivors took place in the House of Commons June 11, 2008.  It included a commitment by Parliament and all of Canada to join First Nations on a shared journey toward healing and reconciliation.

"Real reconciliation is about real action and real change," said National Chief Atleo.  "We honour and support those on their personal healing journeys.  At the same time, we must continue to move forward, reflecting on the past and moving forward to create a better day for our children.  Our work is about enabling community-based solutions that support success ending unfairness and unilateral attempts that do not respect our rights.  Rather than an instrument of oppression as in the past, education must now affirm and respect our peoples through First Nation approaches that implement our rights, honour our heritage and languages and nurture the success of every one of our students."

Today over 5000 people are expected to gather at Parliament Hill in support of culturally-based equity for First Nations children.  "Our Dreams Matter Too" is a letter-writing campaign initiated by the First Nation Caring Society of Canada, encouraging all Canadians to act now so First Nations children have the opportunities to grow up proud of their cultures, safe and healthy at home with a good education.  For more information visit www.fncaringsociety.com

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  AFN and National Chief Atleo are on twitter.  Follow @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms and @NCAtleo.

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

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