WATERLOO, ON, May 26, 2014 /CNW/ - The Presbyterian Church in Canada is pleased to announce that Phil Fontaine, Order of Canada recipient and former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, will attend the Presbyterian Church in Canada General Assembly on Saturday, May 31 in order to recognize the 20th anniversary of the church's confession to Aboriginal peoples for its involvement in the Indian Residential School system. Mr. Fontaine will give a keynote address to the assembly of church commissioners from across Canada at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, beginning at 11 a.m.
Mr. Fontaine originally received the confession from the Presbyterian Church in Canada on October 8, 1994, from the Moderator of the 120th General Assembly, the Rev. Dr. George Vais, in Winnipeg, MB. At the time, Mr. Fontaine was grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. The confession acknowledges the harm done to Aboriginal peoples through attempts to assimilate Aboriginal children into the dominant culture of the time and asks forgiveness for the legacy of pain that has been left behind.
Phil Fontaine was born at the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba and attended a residential school. He was one of the longest-serving National Chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations, serving three terms. He successfully negotiated the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and helped establish the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Phil Fontaine is a Member of the Order of Manitoba and has received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in December 2012.
General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada
The 140th General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada will take place at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, from Friday, May 30 until Monday, June 2. The General Assembly is the highest court of the church. Commissioners from across to the country meet to make decisions related to the doctrine, ministries and governance of the denomination.
The Presbyterian Church in Canada is committed to contributing to a new, equitable relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada. The full confession is available online: http://presbyterian.ca/?wpdmdl=92&.
SOURCE: The Presbyterian Church in Canada
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