Aboriginal and Church Leaders to Launch Remembering the Children Tour in Ottawa



    OTTAWA, Feb. 28 /CNW/ - Aboriginal and church leaders will gather late
Sunday afternoon in Ottawa to mark the beginning of a multi-city tour to draw
public and media attention to the upcoming work of Canada's Indian Residential
Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
    The Ottawa launch is being held in the Grand Hall of the Canadian Museum
of Civilization between 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 2, 2008. The
event, which is open to the public, is expected to draw a large crowd of
indigenous, religious, and political leaders.
    Guests expected to attend the leaders' tour launch include the President
of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, George Erasmus; the Interim Executive
Director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Bob Watts; and the
Executive Director of the National Residential Schools Survivors Society, Ted
Quewezance.
    As key participants, along with the federal government, in the operation
of Indian Residential Schools, the Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and
United Churches have committed themselves to full participation in the Truth
and Reconciliation Process.
    The Aboriginal and church leaders agreed to participate in the
Remembering the Children tour because they wanted to highlight the
significance of the work to be done by the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission.
    They hope their multi-city tour will raise awareness and help to educate
both church members and other Canadians about the legacy of residential
schools and the impacts of colonization on Aboriginal people and their
communities.
    Participating in the tour will be Phil Fontaine, the National Chief of
the Assembly of First Nations, and representatives of the four mainline
Christian churches who, along with the federal government, operated Canada's
Indian Residential Schools. The Protestant church leaders include:

    
    -   The Rt. Rev. Dr. David Giuliano, Moderator, The United Church of
        Canada
    -   The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, Primate, the Anglican Church of Canada
    -   The Rev. Dr. J.H. (Hans) Kouwenberg, Moderator, The Presbyterian
        Church in Canada
    -   The Rt. Rev. Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop, the
        Anglican Church of Canada
    

    Throughout the tour the Roman Catholic Church will be represented either
by local bishops or individual priests and nuns whose religious orders were
involved in operating residential schools. Also participating at various times
in the public events will be representatives of other faith groups, regional
Aboriginal leaders, and representatives of both Inuit and Métis groups.
    "We believe it is essential that Canadians pay close attention to this
process of truth-telling," explains Hon. David MacDonald, the United Church's
Special Advisor on residential schools, and one of the organizers of the
leaders' tour.
    MacDonald adds, "This is the opportunity for all of us to hear the voices
of the children who attended residential schools, to listen to their stories,
and to learn, maybe for the first time, of the impact that residential schools
have had on Canada's First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities."
    The Remembering the Children tour includes stops in Ottawa, Vancouver,
Saskatoon and Winnipeg. In addition to making themselves available for media
interviews and speaking engagements in each city, the leaders will participate
in a series of public events that are being planned by local organizing
committees in the four cities.
    The tour's public events include:

    
    -   Ottawa:     Sunday March 2, 2008, Canadian Museum of Civilization,
                    Grand Hall, 5:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
    -   Vancouver:  Wednesday, March 5, 2008, a ceremonial walk will start at
                    7:00 p.m. from the entrance of the Vancouver School of
                    Theology to the Museum of Anthropology where the evening
                    program will begin at 7:30 p.m.
    -   Saskatoon:  Sunday, March 9, 2008, Saskatoon Western Development
                    Museum, 3:00 p.m., hosted by the Prairie Centre for
                    Ecumenism.
    -   Winnipeg:   Monday, March 10, 2008, The Forks, in Market (Food)
                    Court, 7:00 p.m.
    

    For further information about the Aboriginal and Church Leaders' Tour,
please visit: www.rememberingthechildren.ca





For further information:

For further information: To arrange media interviews with church or
Aboriginal leaders who are taking part in the Remembering the Children tour,
please contact: Mary-Frances Denis, The United Church of Canada, (416)
231-7680 ext. 2016 (office), 1-800-268-3781 ext. 2016 (toll-free), (416)
885-7478 (cell), (416) 766-0057 (home), mdenis@united-church.ca; Tash Cote,
Assembly of First Nations, (613) 241-6789 ext. 274, tcote@afn.ca

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