OTTAWA, June 16 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today issued the following statement from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's first national commemorative event taking place in Winnipeg, MB this week.
"Today is first and foremost about the survivors of the Indian residential school system, the importance of truth-telling and the collection of a history that is not known to many Canadians. Today we gather to commend the individual and combined strength, courage and resilience of survivors and their families, to hear their stories and experiences and to support their healing journey. To those who have passed on, today we honour their memory.
We look forward to walking the path together toward reconciliation, knowing that this requires all Canadians to hear and learn our shared histories.
Together, we can learn from the residential schools era and move forward, never forgetting but with an eye to a better future - one where we address the disparities between First Nations and other people in Canada in ways that respect and value First Nations traditional cultures, languages and our rights as Indigenous peoples.
There is an opportunity before all Canadians to work with First Nations to ensure that education, which was once used as a weapon to destroy our cultures, is now used as a tool to empower our young people to succeed in this modern world, firmly rooted in our cultures, languages and rights. It will be an avenue to restore our rightful place in Canada - to ensure all Canadians know the truth that is shared so courageously by the survivors here today and in their home communities.
So, today we look to the truth, to talk about our shared history as a way to help us in our ongoing efforts to turn the heavy page in our dark history, together. I commend all those who will tell their stories and all those who will listen in the spirit of respect and reconciliation, with the interest of forging a more fair and just Canada."
The Assembly of First Nations - the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada - was instrumental in creating and finalizing the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement that called for the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
For further information: For further information: Assembly of First Nations Communications Officer Jenna Young at 613-241-6789, ext 401, 613-314-8157 (mobile) or firstname.lastname@example.org