VANCOUVER, Feb. 18, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, is pleased to announce the government's gesture of reconciliation and support to the 'Namgis First Nation's decommissioning of the St. Michael's Indian Residential School in Alert Bay, British Columbia.
Along with providing funding to demolish the building that was St. Michael's Indian Residential School, the government is also supporting the community in its efforts to hold healing ceremonies at the site and develop a video documenting the perspectives of former students.
The Government of Canada remains committed to achieving fair and lasting reconciliation and building a new relationship between Aboriginal people and all Canadians based on acknowledging the past, reconciliation and moving forward toward a better future for all.
- Canada is providing $1.8 million for the demolition of the school and site remediation.
- In addition to implementing the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement which included the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Canada continues to promote reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada through a number of initiatives including Gestures of Reconciliation. Examples include the 2008 Apology to former students of Indian residential schools and the installation of a stained glass window in Centre Block of Parliament to commemorate the legacy of Indian residential schools.
"I am pleased to offer support to 'Namgis First Nation on behalf of our Government for this reconciliation initiative. Reconciliation events are significant as they provide an opportunity to acknowledge that dark time in our history, to highlight the importance of reconciliation for all Canadians, and support those who have been affected to bring healing to themselves, their families and their communities."
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
"The generations of children who passed through the doors of the St. Michael's residential school will not be forgotten. The 'Namgis First Nation will secure funds and work with former students and 'Namgis members to establish a memorial on the site of the residential school. Ongoing dialogue is required among Canadians to understand and move beyond the impacts of the residential school system on our society. Together, we can help turn the page on this dark period in our history and continue on the pathway towards healing and reconciliation."
Chief Debra Hanuse
'Namgis First Nation
"This momentous occasion is an important milestone for the survivors of St. Michael's Indian Residential School as it ignites new hope through healing and the potential for reconciliation. We are here to acknowledge the past, honour the survivors and celebrate a new future."
Chief Dr. Robert Joseph
SOURCE Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
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