TRC concludes Atlantic National Event in Halifax

HALIFAX, NS, Oct. 29, 2011The Truth-  and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) today concluded its Atlantic National Event held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Residential School Survivors accompanied by their families, TRC Commissioners, church and government officials, school groups, invited guests and members of the general public attended the four-day gathering. TRC National Events provide public forums for all Canadians to hear and learn about the history and legacy of Residential Schools.

Through various program events including Survivor sharing circles and panels, knowledge circles, film screenings and concerts, it is estimated the Atlantic National Event drew as many as 2,000 visitors daily. In addition, 10,000 viewers - from 13 counties and 4 continents - watched the webcasts.

Highlights of the Atlantic National Event included an opening ceremony, which culminated with the arrival of a Residential School Survivor who walked more than 2,200 kilometres from Cochrane, Ontario. The day closed with an honouring ceremony for Nora Bernard. On day two, the University of Manitoba presented an encouraging act of reconciliation before the Commission with an apology for its role in failing to acknowledge and challenge the Indian Residential School system and policies.  600 high school students took part in the TRC's first Education Day.  Post-secondary educators also took part in A Gathering Celebrating Indigenous Knowledge organized by Dalhousie University and St. Francis Xavier University.  On the final day, a report by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police examining its role in Residential Schools was presented.

The theme of the Atlantic National Event, It's About Love - A National Journey for Healing, Families and Reconciliation was inspired by survivors from across the Atlantic who shared their truths publicly and privately during TRC hearings held throughout the Atlantic in lead up to the Halifax National Event.

"We know there are places in the world today where children are living similar experiences to those of Aboriginal children in Canada who attended Residential Schools," said Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the TRC.   "As a country, we have a responsibility to ensure that the truths that are shared by Residential School Survivors are known and that the lessons learned are widely shared so that this is never allowed to happen again. "

Five prominent Canadians were inducted as official Honourary Witnesses at the Atlantic National Event. The Honourary Witnesses observed the proceedings and accepted the responsibility of sharing what they have learned with others.

Plans are underway for the next TRC National Event to be held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in June 2012. Exact dates and venue location to be announced.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established as a result of the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Its mandate is to inform all Canadians about what happened in Residential Schools, and guide and inspire a process of reconciliation and renewed relationships based on mutual understanding and respect.

For further information:
Nancy Pine, Senior Communications and Outreach Advisor
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
Office: 613-947-4647 | Cell: 613-316-5654 | Email