OTTAWA, June 10, 2011 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National
Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today honoured the three-year anniversary
of the Government of Canada's apology for the Indian residential school
system, stating that First Nation education is a cornerstone of
reconciliation between First Nations and all Canadians.
"Education was used as a weapon of oppression against our people, but it
can now be the key to unlock the full potential of our children,
citizens, communities and governments," said AFN National Chief Shawn
Atleo. "Today, we remember the tens of thousands of First Nation
children ripped from their families and communities. We honour their
stories, their voices and their legacy. As they work to heal
themselves and one another, we call on all Canadians to support our
call to action on First Nation education and to support fair and
equitable education that values our languages and cultures."
The historic apology to residential school survivors was delivered in
the House of Commons June 11, 2008. It was an important moment in the
shared history of First Nations and Canada, a promise and commitment by
Parliament and all of Canada to join First Nations on a journey toward
healing and reconciliation, including the establishment of the Truth
and Reconciliation Commission.
"I had the honour to be in Parliament, with my late Grandmother by my
side, as the Prime Minister delivered those important words," said
National Chief Atleo. "I will never forget the moment when my
Grandmother turned to me and said: 'Grandson, they are beginning to see
us'. She told me of a dream of trying to lift a heavy page and she
then understood what it meant: it is now time for all of us to turn the
page to a new chapter, together. That dream of reconciliation is
something we must all commit to making a reality. We extend our hands
to all Canadians in that spirit of partnership to work for a stronger
Canada for all."
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission continues its important work
gathering the stories from residential school survivors through its
truth-telling process. National events are taking place throughout
2011. For more information on TRC events visit www.trc.ca.
This June also marks one year of the national Call to Action on First
Nation education which National Chief Atleo launched to gather support
by all sectors for equity in all levels of education for First
Nations. As part of Advocacy, Awareness and Action month, AFN will be
releasing a status report on the national Call to Action on First
Nation education this June. See www.afn.ca for regular updates and follow online discussion at #FNhist.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada. AFN and National Chief Atleo are on
twitter. Follow @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms and @NCAtleo.
SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS
For further information:
Don Kelly AFN A/Communications Director 613-241-6789 ext. 334; 613-2922787 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or email@example.com
Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or firstname.lastname@example.org