The Government of Canada must apologize for residential schools



    TORONTO, March 30 /CNW/ - The First Nations in Ontario strongly support
calls for the Government of Canada to apologize to First Nation individuals
that are former students of residential schools, and their families. Indian
and Northern Affairs Minister Jim Prentice has been quoted that no apology
will be forthcoming as it was not a part of the negotiated residential school
settlement. He further indicated that this issue cannot be compared with the
Maher Arar situation or the Chinese head tax, both of whom were issued formal
apologies from the Government of Canada, as the "underlying objective had been
to try and provide an education to aboriginal children and I think the
circumstances are completely different".
    Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse indicated that the position
presented by Minister Prentice demonstrates a lack of understanding of the
profound negative impact that the residential schools had on First Nation
individuals, families and communities. "It is difficult to put into word the
destructive, and lingering impact that the residential school experience has
had on our communities" stated Chief Toulouse. He expressed disappointment
with the refusal of the Government of Canada to at last take full
responsibility for the imposition of this tragic experience on First Nation
peoples.
    The Regional Chief explained that the imposition of the residential
school system on First Nation people represented an active policy of forced
assimilation, specifically targeting First Nation children. "The impacts were
devastating and tragic. A huge injustice, from which we are still recovering,
was perpetrated upon our people. It is unacceptable that this government is
refusing to offer a formal apology to the First Nations" said the Regional
Chief.
    Chief Toulouse indicated that First Nations have been incredibly patient
over many years while calling for the Government of Canada to take
responsibility for this shameful experience. "We are still waiting for an
apology and will not rest until those most harmed by this experience receive
the formal apology that they are due" stated Chief Toulouse.





For further information:

For further information: Pam Hunter, Policy Advisor, (416) 597-1266,
Office; Chiefs of Ontario, (613) 203-3233, Mobile

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Chiefs of Ontario

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