The New National Discussion

Suzanne  -  Apr 24, 2015  -  , , , , ,  - 

"Never Again," a mixed-media work by Cree artist George Littlechild, using an archival photo of his mother, Rachel Littlechild, in residential school

Justice Murray Sinclair, Manitoba’s first Aboriginal judge and the chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, says he wants all Canadians – not just politicians – to take part in a “national discussion” on how to improve the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada.

“We need to change the way that people in the community engage with each other and think about each other,” Sinclair told the Ottawa Citizen.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission releases its final report on residential schools – in which it will make recommendations on how Canada can address the negative effects the schools had on Aboriginal families and communities – on June 2 in Ottawa.

In a video released by the TRC in April 2015, Sinclair says that the education system was responsible for cultural genocide and the attempted assimilation of Aboriginal peoples for hundreds of years. It is also the education system, Sinclair believes, that will change the present situation and improve the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada. However, Sinclair cautions against looking for “quick and easy solutions, because there are none.” It took a long time to get to this point, Sinclair says, and it will take a long time to “restore balance to that relationship.” Sinclair asks all Canadians to think about what they can do today to contribute to the process of reconciliation.

Watch Justice Sinclair speaking about the issue of reconciliation in the TRC’s short, three-minute video – and please forward the link to your networks.

The national discussion starts now.

For more information on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the public events happening in Ottawa from May 31 to June 3, go to the TRC website.

For more on residential schools, view the TRC’s interactive online exhibition “Where Are the Children?”

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