OTTAWA, June 11, 2013 /CNW/ - On the fifth anniversary of Parliament's
Apology for Indian Residential Schools, Assembly of First Nations (AFN)
National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo called attention to the
outstanding requirement for all governments and all Canadians to commit
"There is a growing frustration among First Nations across the country
with lack of action and lack of commitment on the part of the
Government of Canada to work in real partnership with our peoples and
governments," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. "Five years ago, the
Prime Minister stated: 'There is no place in Canada for the attitudes that inspired the Indian
Residential Schools system to ever prevail again.' Those attitudes include the colonial notion that other governments know
best for First Nations and have the right to make decisions for us, yet
we have not seen change in the continued pattern of unilateral
approaches and imposed legislation. This is incongruent with the
apology and other commitments. We must break the pattern once and for
all. Actions must match words. Our people are calling for a true and
collective commitment to reconciliation that respects First Nations
peoples and rights as the way forward to a stronger Canada."
The historic apology offered to residential school survivors took place
in the House of Commons June 11, 2008. It included a commitment by
Parliament and all of Canada to join First Nations on a shared journey
toward healing and reconciliation, including ensuring continuity with
healing efforts initiated through the Aboriginal Healing Foundation.
"All those affected by the Residential Schools must be supported in
their healing journey," said AFN Regional Chief Bill Erasmus who leads
the national advocacy work in this area "The work of the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission remains fundamentally important and the
Government of Canada must cooperate fully in achieving their mandate,
including programming and supports for all survivors and their
In a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper dated June 10, 2013,
National Chief Atleo and the AFN national executive committee outlined
key areas for action based on shared commitments toward reconciliation.
A similar letter was also sent by all parties to the Indian Residential
Schools Settlement Agreement of 2007.
"On this important anniversary, we honour the many survivors of Indian
residential schools and their families," said National Chief Atleo.
"Without their strength and courage to share their stories and push for
reconciliation, we would not be in a position to address the challenges
we face today. In spite of challenges, First Nations are implementing
First Nation-driven solutions based on their rights and their Treaties.
This work is aimed at supporting and strengthening our governments,
building our economies, providing fair and equitable education and
health systems for our kids and families in ways that honour our
heritage and languages and ensuring our citizens and communities are
safe and secure. We must see concrete action by government to support
these efforts now."
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms,
SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations
For further information:
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