News Release

INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SURVIVOR COMMITTEE BEGINS JOURNEY

TRC Survivor Committee members with the TRC bentwood box and quilts capturing the experiences of survivors.  L-R: Barney Williams Jr., Rebekah Uqi Williams, John Morrisseau, Eugene Arcand, Doris Young, Gordon Williams, Lottie May Johnson, John Banksland, Ray Arcand.  Absent: Terri Brown. TRC Survivor Committee members with the TRC bentwood box and quilts capturing the experiences of survivors. L-R: Barney Williams Jr., Rebekah Uqi Williams, John Morrisseau, Eugene Arcand, Doris Young, Gordon Williams, Lottie May Johnson, John Banksland, Ray Arcand. Absent: Terri Brown.

August 05, 2009, Ottawa, ON - - Members of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Survivor Committee met for the first time this week in Ottawa, including a session with TRC Chair Justice Murray Sinclair, Commissioner Marie Wilson and Commissioner Chief Wilton Littlechild. The 10-member Committee, including First Nation, Inuit and Métis former residential school students from across Canada, was established on July 15, 2009.

As set out in the Commission's mandate, the Survivor Committee serves as an advisory body for the TRC and provides advice to the Chair and Commissioners with respect to the Commission's activities. Discussions held over two days provided an opportunity for the Survivor Committee to meet one another and gain a clear understanding of new roles and responsibilities.

"I am honoured by my fellow committee members to act as Committee Chair in this initial period," said committee member Gordon Williams, who spent 5 years attending Birtle Indian Residential School in Manitoba. "One of the first things we did as a committee was discuss a common vision, and identify principles that will guide our work, including respect and honesty toward one another, confidentiality, and inclusion of cultural and traditional values. These principles are consistent with the guiding principles of the TRC."

The TRC Survivor Committee will initially meet on a quarterly basis or more frequently as required.