AFN National Chief Welcomes Appointments to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission



    OTTAWA, June 10 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief
Phil Fontaine welcomed today's announcement by Indian Affairs Minister Chuck
Strahl on the appointment of the Chair and Commissioners for the national
Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
    "Today's announcement is welcome news for First Nations and, in
particular, survivors of the Indian residential schools," AFN National Chief
Fontaine stated. "First Nations citizens and survivors across the country are
eager to see the Commission begin its work as soon as possible. It is
important that survivors and all those involved in the schools have a chance
to tell their stories. The Commission will be an important vehicle to advance
our national goal of reconciliation by building greater understanding among
all the peoples of this land."
    Minister Strahl announced today that Mr. Justice Murray Sinclair will
Chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Mr. Justice Murray Sinclair is
a citizen of the Ojibway Nation, raised on the St. Peter's Reserve in
Manitoba. He was the first Aboriginal judge in Manitoba and was one of the
Co-Chairs of Manitoba's groundbreaking Aboriginal Justice Inquiry in Manitoba.
The two new commissioners are Wilton Littlechild, the Alberta Regional Chief
for the Assembly of First Nations and Marie Wilson, who has previously served
as a Regional Director of CBC North.
    The National Chief stated: "I know Mr. Justice Sinclair personally and
professionally and his experience as a judge and scholar, and his strong
understanding of his culture and traditions, will ensure he brings the
expertise, insight and sensitivity that will be so important to the work of
this commission. I congratulate Regional Chief Littlechild - my friend and
colleague whom I have worked with closely over the past three years - and Mrs.
Wilson on their appointments as Commissioners. I have the highest regard and
respect for them and know they will carry out their work with diligence and
dedication. I fully support the Chair and Commissioners and I want to thank
the Honourable Frank Iacobucci for overseeing the selection committee and his
ongoing support for this work."
    The announcement by Minister Strahl arrives one day before the first
anniversary of the federal government's apology for the Indian residential
schools. The AFN has designated June 11th as the National Day of
Reconciliation and tomorrow will hold a march in Ottawa, Ontario and a rally
on Parliament Hill, with supporting events across the country.
    The AFN was involved in the selection process for the Chair and
Commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Commission's
mandate is to inform all Canadians about what happened in the Indian
residential schools (IRS) by documenting the words of survivors, their
families, communities and anyone personally affected by the residential
schools experience. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is part of the
Indian Residential Schools Settlement, a landmark settlement negotiated by the
Assembly of First Nations and finalized in March 2007.

    The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada.




For further information:

For further information: Don Kelly, A/Communications Director, Assembly
of First Nations, (613) 241-6789 ext. 334, cell: (613) 292-2787,
dkelly@afn.ca


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