Nisga'a Nation Statement on Residential School Apology

    NEW AIYANSH, BC, June 12 /CNW/ - The Nisga'a Nation's Legislative
Assembly, known as Wilp Si'Ayuukhl Nisga'a, took time to witness a historic
moment in Canada's history as Prime Minister Harper on behalf of the
Government of Canada and all Canadians, apologized for the reprehensible
Indian Residential School Policy.
    Mr. Kevin McKay, Chairperson of the Nisga'a Lisims Government addressed
the members of Wilp Si'Ayuukhl Nisga'a following the apology by Prime Minister
Stephen Harper for Canada's Indian Residential Schools Policy. "It is an
understatement to say that this apology is long overdue," stated Kevin McKay,
"Of particular importance to the Nisga'a Nation was the statement by Liberal
Party Leader, the Honourable Stéphane Dion, that this was a shared
responsibility of the various governments of Canada over 100 years of
maintaining this government policy which affected more than 150,000 aboriginal
    "The Nisga'a Nation is pleased with the light that this apology has shed
on this very dark chapter of Canadian history," Mr. McKay stated, "With the
apology of the Prime Minister, with the statements by each of the leaders of
the opposition parties and with the statements of the National Aboriginal
leaders, the apology we witnessed today has set in motion a window of
opportunity unprecedented in Canadian history to enable residential school
survivors and their families to confront and conquer the painful memories and
demons that continue to plague aboriginal people, communities and cultures."
    The stories recounting the plight of those still suffering and still in
need of help will be heard as a result of today's events. Mr. Kevin McKay
stated, "We feel that the acceptability of the apology is very much a personal
decision of residential school survivors. The Nisga'a Nation will consider the
sincerity of the Prime Minister's apology on the basis of the policies and
actions of the government in the days and years to come. Only history will
determine the degree of its sincerity."
    Mr. McKay concluded, "The residential school policy is a subset of a more
comprehensive and equally reprehensible policy that is enshrined in the Indian
Act. If you look around, the Indian Act survives and thrives still today. It
is an ill-fated, colonial prescription and we are still dealing with its
after-effects. The Nisga'a Final Agreement, signed on May 11, 2000 with Canada
and British Columbia, is the Nisga'a Nation's prescription to overcome these
very dark policies and we are now calling on the Government of Canada to end
its ongoing breach of the Nisga'a Final Agreement as it has failed to
negotiate our fiscal arrangements since they expired in March 2006." The
Nisga'a Nation is further calling on the government to honour its agreements
and implement Land Claim agreements in a timely, fair and equitable manner as
proposed by the Land Claims Agreement Coalition and affirmed by the recent
Report of the Senate Committee.

For further information:

For further information: Les Clayton, Director of Communications &
Intergovernmental Affairs, Nisga'a Lisims Government, 1-866-633-0888 or (250)

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