OTTAWA, June 2, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, today issued the following statement:
"It is a profound honour to participate in this Truth and Reconciliation event. This is an occasion for all Canadians to reflect on this dark chapter in Canada's history that has left a profound mark on our country.
As Prime Minister Harper said in his historic apology on behalf of all Canadians in 2008, there is no place in Canada for the attitudes that inspired the Indian Residential Schools system to ever prevail again.
This truth will not only help us to remember, but also to look forward and to focus on the next generations of children – to strengthen their potential for success.
We know that many of the children who entered residential schools did not return home and many suffered harm and loss of cultural identity. It is the memory of those harmed that must compel us to move forward, to work together.
Reconciliation is not to forgive and forget, but to remember and change. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has stated that reconciliation is a goal that will take the commitment of multiple generations.
To that end, and in order to ensure we continue the work that we have started, as a gesture of reconciliation, our Government will provide $1 million to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to help house the millions of historical records collected during the TRC's six year mandate.
We will also provide support to Reconciliation Canada and the Legacy of Hope to continue to raise awareness about the legacy of residential schools and to engage Canadians in dialogues and public education through events and educational tools related to reconciliation.
I would like to acknowledge the Commissioners and the staff of the Commission for the important work they presented today.
The stained glass window installed in the Centre Block of Parliament is a poignant reminder of the true meaning of reconciliation, not only for the Members of Parliament who enter through the door above which it sits, but for all Canadians. Designed by Christi Belcourt, this lasting symbol includes the idea that we are all "looking ahead." The message of the window is "not only to forgive, but to remember and to seek change, for former students and their families, but also for the "unborn" – our future generations."
It is in this spirit that Canada pledges that it will continue its efforts to advance reconciliation."
This statement is available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.
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SOURCE Government of Canada
For further information: Minister's Office, Emily Hillstrom, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, 819-997-0002; Media Relations, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, 819-953-1160