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Canada: final report on residential schools paves way for reconciliation

published 15 December 2015 updated 17 December 2015

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report, which is calling to redress the destructive legacy of residential schools, is being acknowledged by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation as a great path towards the reconciliation process.

The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) welcomed the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) final report on 15 December, noting that for over 100 years, Aboriginal children in Canada were pulled from their families and placed in residential schools where they were subjected to physical, emotional and sexual abuse. The purpose of the residential schools was to aggressively assimilate Aboriginal students.

“This extremely sad chapter in Canadian history must be brought to light for all Canadians, and it starts with our young students,” explained CTF President Heather Smith.

The CTF commends the TRC for all of its efforts in bringing the truth about “the devastating impact of residential schools to the fore” and for beginning “the healing process”, which will take generations.  The CTF considers this not as an Aboriginal challenge but one for all Canadians, insisted Smith.

“Education is vitally important to the reconciliation process,” she underlined. This is why CTF invites Canadian teachers to learn, generate dialogue and nurture a better understanding of the impact of residential schools in classrooms across the country.

The CTF looks forward to working collaboratively with First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples in the implementation of the calls to action outlined in the TRC final report, Smith concluded.

The CTF and the National Truth and Reconciliation Centre are also collaborating on the production of a student voice discussion booklet and lesson plans on Truth and Reconciliation which will be released on National Aboriginal Day 2016.