NAN urges formal apology for residential schools



    THUNDER BAY, ON, March 27 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief
Stan Beardy says regardless of whether or not a formal apology was part of the
Residential School Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Assembly
of First Nations, the formal recognition of wrong-doing by Canada should
warrant more than compensation packages for First Nation people impacted by
the residential school system.
    "What better way to reach closure than to issue a formal apology?" said
NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy who represents 49 First Nation communities across
Ontario.
    "Regardless of whether or not a formal apology is in the text of the
agreement or was understood to take place following the agreement, it's vital
to the healing process for not only NAN members affected by the residential
school system, but First Nations across the province and country."
    Beardy's comments come after yesterday's statement by Indian and Northern
Affairs Minister Jim Prentice that the deal worth at least $1.9 billion in
compensation packages will not include an apology from the Prime Minister of
Canada, despite the Minister's comments that the door needs to close on
various parts of Canadian history.
    Assembly of First Nations has been negotiating with the Government of
Canada since December 2004 to reach a deal that will compensate more than
12,000 Aboriginals currently participating in law suits seeking compensation
for the effects of the residential school system that uprooted Aboriginals
children across Canada from their home communities.
    An Agreement-in-Principle was reached with the former Liberal government
November 2005 and subsequently a final agreement with the Conservative Harper
Government April 2006.
    Since 2005, NAN has publicly urged for a formal apology by the Prime
Minister of Canada and continuation of programs focused on individual and
community healing for approximately 90 per cent of NAN members impacted by the
residential school system.
    Approximately 5,000 NAN members attended residential schools.





For further information:

For further information: Jenna Young, NAN Director of Communications,
(807) 625-4952, OR (807) 628-3953 (mobile)

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NISHNAWBE ASKI NATION

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