First Nations concerned with residential schools commission



    NIPISSING FIRST NATION, ON, Oct. 21 /CNW/ - Anishinabek Nation Grand
Council Chief John Beaucage is greatly concerned with the direction of the
Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission - especially
the situation that led to the resignation of Commission Chair, Justice Harry
S. LaForme.
    Grand Council Chief Beaucage is primarily concerned with the feelings and
concerns of the residential school survivors.
    "I am disappointed that Justice LaForme has tendered his resignation. I
am hoping that it will not be interpreted by the survivors of Residential
Schools as a sign that their plight is denigrated in any way," said Grand
Council Chief Beaucage.
    "Above all the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is about healing, not
about who is sitting in the front of the room," he said.
    Yesterday, Justice LaForme resigned as Commission Chair of the Indian
Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission, citing an "incurable
problem" that may lead to ultimate failure of the Commission.
    Beaucage is calling for dismissal of the remaining commissioners, Jane
Brewin Morley and Claudette Dumont-Smith with a full review and reconstitution
of the Commission.
    "With Justice LaForme's resignation, I can say without a doubt, that
First Nations have lost confidence in the Commission as it is presently
constituted. Clearly, the remaining commissioners are responsible for these
turn of events and need to be replaced," said Beaucage.
    In his letter to The Hon. Chuck Strahl, the Minister of Indian Affairs
and Northern Development, LaForme stated: "The two commissioners are
unprepared to accept that the structure of the Commission requires that the
TRC's course is to be charted and its objectives are to be shaped ultimately
through the authority and leadership of its Chair."
    "These questions need to be addressed immediately and First Nations must
play an instrumental role in the review of the Commission's mandate and the
selection of the new commissioners," said Beaucage.
    Justice LaForme is a judge with the Ontario Court of Appeal. He is also
Anishinabek, and a citizen of the Mississaugas of New Credit.

    The Anishinabek Nation incorporated the Union of Ontario Indians as its
secretariat in 1949. The UOI is a political advocate for 42 member First
Nations across Ontario. The Union of Ontario Indians is the oldest political
organization in Ontario and can trace its roots back to the Confederacy of
Three Fires, which existed long before European contact.





For further information:

For further information: Bob Goulais, Executive Assistant to the Grand
Council Chief, Cell: (705) 498-5250, E-mail: goubob@anishinabek.ca; Marci
Becking, Communications Officer, Ph: (705) 497-9127 (Ext. 2290), E-mail:
becmar@anishinabek.ca

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Anishinabek Nation

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Union of Ontario Indians

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