If this website distresses you, or someone you know, call 1-866-925-4419 to access the Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line.
TRC thanks chief coroners, chief medical examiners for commitment to help research deaths of Aboriginal children at residential schools
Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), expressed gratitude today to Canada’s provincial and territorial chief coroners and chief medical examiners for their unanimous commitment to support the Missing Children Project. Read more
SHARE YOUR TRUTH - TRC Announces Regional Hearings in Saskatchewan
In preparation for the Saskatchewan National Event from June 21-24, 2012 in Saskatoon, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) will host 12 Community Hearings. Read more
TRC Announces Call for Submissions to Host National Research Centre
Winnipeg, MB - The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) today posted the Call for Submissions to host the National Research Centre on residential schools. Read more
SHARE YOUR TRUTH
TRC ANNOUNCES ATLANTIC HEARINGS
In preparation for the Atlantic National Event from October 26-29 in Halifax, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) will host its first of six Atlantic Hearings at Government House in Fredericton on Thursday September 8, 2011. Read more
A Message from Justice Murray Sinclair on
Charlie Hunter Being Laid to Rest in His Home Community
The TRC is pleased to share this day when Charlie Hunter returns home. While there is an aura of celebration to this day, we also recognize that this is a day founded on the tragedy of a lost child and of parents left without the right to grieve properly. For that reason we express our condolences and best wishes to Charlie's parents and brothers and children.
When Charlie tragically died at residential school at the age of 13 in 1974, neither the school nor the government did the right thing. Read more
Commission Marks the Passing of Jack Layton
The Commissioners extend their condolences to the family and friends of the Honourable Jack Layton, Leader of the Opposition who passed away this morning. Mr. Layton was instrumental in bringing about the Statement of Apology issued by the Government of Canada to residential school survivors in June 2008. His contribution was recognized in the apology issued by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who stated:
“For the past year and a half, he has spoken to me with regularity and great conviction on the need for this apology. His advice, given across party lines and in confidence, has been persuasive and has been greatly appreciated.”
Such leadership on reconciliation will be missed.
First Air Crash Mourned
It is with great sadness that we are following the news of the tragic crash of Flight 6560 in Resolute Bay, Nunavut. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was recently in Inuvik for its second National Event. Residential school survivors from across the North, including Resolute Bay, traveled great distances to attend this event. We know that a tragedy of this magnitude affects every family of Resolute Bay, as well as friends and family throughout the northern region, and other parts of Canada. The Commission offers its sincere condolences to the families of those lost and to all residents of the North.
A message on the passing of Phillip Elanik from TRC Chair, Justice Murray Sinclair
The great Métis leader Louis Riel once said: "My people will sleep for one hundred years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back."
Phillip was such an artist. When he danced you could sense the pride that he felt in what he was doing, and how much he was immersed in it. You could see the feeling of pride and sense the self-respect that his people felt at what he did. He was not dancing for himself. He was dancing for them. In bringing out the spirit of the dance, he brought out the spirit in all who watched. He was truly an amazing and gifted artist. Read more
Message from the Commissioners on the passing of Gordon Tootoosis
In July, Aboriginal people lost one of their heroes, the Commission lost a good friend and Residential School Survivors lost one of their own, with the death of Saskatchewan actor Gordon Tootoosis.
Early in our mandate, Gordon had an opportunity to meet with us and tell us of his support for our work. He spoke of the possibilities of including the acting community in performing works dedicated to Residential School Survivors. He accepted an invitation to host one of the artistic evenings for the Commission at the TRC’s Winnipeg National Event in June 2010, and the Commission was looking forward to including him in our plans for the upcoming Saskatchewan National Event. We are saddened at his loss.
The Commissioners wish to extend their condolences to Gordon’s family.
Honourary Witnesses Named at The Northern National Event
The TRC welcomed key individuals from four continents who will serve as witnesses. Honourary Witnesses are called upon to be the keepers of history when an event of historic significance occurs.
The Northern National Event in Inuvik saw the naming of six Honourary Witnesses: Chief Ed John (Grand Chief, First Nations Summit of BC; North American Representative for the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues), Shelagh Rogers, OC (Host, The Next Chapter, CBC Radio), Robbie Waisman (Jewish Holocaust Survivor), Francisco Cali Tzay (Vice Chairperson, Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, United Nations), John Dommett (Chief Executive Officer, Connecting Home Ltd), Refik Hodzic (Communications Director, International Center for Transitional Justice).
Northern Hearings Wrap Up in Whitehorse, Yukon
Spanning the North and 18 communities, the Northern Hearings saw survivors and other community members from Nunavik, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon share how Residential Schools have impacted their lives. Read more
Watch a video summary of the Northern Hearings
The TRC has just completed its second of seven National Events that it is mandated to host. This second event in Inuvik, NT was a great success. Organizing the largest event of its kind in Inuvik is no small undertaking.
The TRC now, over the next 12 months, has to organize and host two National Events, a Regional Event, Regional Hearings, and Community Events in both the East and the West. In light of this enormous workload, the Commission has identified the need to decentralize event planning teams. Given that we are required to work on several events at the same time, we will need the services of more local people and event planning companies. As such, the TRC is being reorganized and it will no longer have a National Events Directorate.
With the closure of the National Events Directorate the following changes are also being made:
1) Commissioner Hearings – will be moved to the Statement Gathering Directorate.
2) Community Events – will be moved to the Communications Directorate.
These changes also mean that we will be saying goodbye to some staff from the National Events Directorate. A few others will be reassigned within existing directorates.
TRC Chair Talks to "The Agenda with Steve Paiken"
Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the TRC, sat down with Steve Paiken of TV Ontario to discuss the Commission, its mandate and the work being done.
If you missed it, here's the link to the interview.
Call for applications: OHCHR Indigenous Fellowships - 2012 Programme
The Indigenous Fellowship Programme was launched in 1997 by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the context of the first International Decade of the World's Indigenous People. The aim of the programme is to give indigenous persons the opportunity to gain knowledge on the UN system and mechanisms dealing with human rights issues in general and indigenous issues in particular. Trained participants are better equipped to assist their organisations and communities in protecting and promoting their rights. This training programme is available in 4 languages: English, Spanish, French and Russian.
Please note that the deadline to receive applications for the 2012 Indigenous Fellowship Programme (for all 4 linguistic components) is Friday July 1, 2011.
Scanned applications sent via email will not be taken into consideration.
For further information on OHCHR Indigenous Fellowship Programme or to find the application form, please click here.
The TRC has received over 200 Commemoration proposals from across the country, with over $30 million in funding requested. Letters of acknowledgment will be sent out next week and the review of the proposals will begin April 15.
Thank you to all individuals, communities and organizations who submitted a funding request.
Northern Hearings Begin in Nunavik
The Northern Hearings commenced on March 14, 2011 in Inukjuak, a community located within the region of Nunavik, Québec. In honour of the TRC and the Inuit Sub-Commission’s arrival, the community built a special iglu to welcome the visitors. It was a first for Commissioner Littlechild, who had never been inside an iglu before!
The hearings in Inukjuak began with the lighting of the qulliq by Elder Elisapee Inukpuk. After opening remarks the Commission received dozens of Nunavimmiut Survivors who have had the courage to speak publicly, and often for the first time, about their experience in Residential School. Read more
TRC Commissioner Marie Wilson shares insights on getting things done in politics, leadership and reconciliation in Canada
March 10, 2011 – Ottawa, ON - TRC Commissioner Marie Wilson was among a panel guest of women leaders sharing insights Thursday afternoon on getting things done in politics, leadership and reconciliation in Canada.
When asked what Canadians can do to support the TRC process and cultivate reconciliation, Commissioner Wilson replied both Canadians and Aboriginal peoples can start now by asking themselves and thinking about this question.
The conference, sponsored by Equal Voice, is an Ottawa-based group dedicated to getting more women involved in Canadian politics. 250 participants packed the Government Conference Centre in Ottawa for the event.
For more information on the event or to view the conference webcast, see www.equalvoice.ca.
Left to right- Moderator: Jane Taber, Senior Political Writer, Globe and Mail and Co-Host of CTV’s Question Period; TRC Commissioner Marie Wilson; The Hon. Janet Ecker, President, Toronto Financial Services Alliance, Former Minister, Government of Ontario; Patty DuCharme, Vice-President, Public Service Alliance of Canada; Hon. Jean Augustine, PC, CM Ontario Fairness Commissioner
Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples
Finding Forgiveness and Healing in Thunder Bay
Survivors of the Residential Schools experience who came forward to share their often painful, emotional truths with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission at a community gathering in Thunder Bay, Ontario took another important step this week on the journey of healing and finding forgiveness.
Photo courtesy of Correen Kakegamic
“Tapachimoda - Lets Tell Our Stories” was organized in part by the Nishnawbe Aski Nation that focused on hearing from survivors and their families who are coming to terms with their experiences. As many as 200 participants gathered for the three day event.
TRC Commissioners present at the gathering participated in sharing circles with survivors. Through tears and at times, laughter, they described their school experiences. Those that were not able to share their statements with the Commission were reminded of other ways and opportunities to do so. For more information on statement gathering, click here.
One survivor, upon reflection of the gathering, commented that people are starting to focus on what they require to move forward and that they don’t want to hang on to what has happened to them. Instead, it’s about finding a healthy way of letting go.
The gathering is one of many community events being held across the country as the Commission carries out its mandate of collecting and creating an accurate account of what happened in the 150 year history of the schools. For more on community events, see TRC in the Community.
The TRC Addresses United Nations Human Rights Council
Commissioner Wilton Littlechild expressed support for the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples' (EMRIP) proposal to organize an International Expert Group Seminar on Truth and Reconciliation processes to the 15th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Read more
Statement Gathering Pilot Project
A new pilot project launched in Winnipeg will make it easier for survivors to share their experience about Residential Schools. Read More
Regional Liaison Job Competition- As advertised in late June and early July, the TRC is hiring seven Regional Liaison Officers. Interviews for these positions took place throughout September for all seven locations: Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Montreal, and Yellowknife..
The TRC wishes to thank everyone for their interest in the position but only those selected for an interview will be contacted.
The deadline for proposals for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s first call for research proposals was August 15, 2010.
The Commission thanks all those who submitted proposals and is currently in the process of assessing those proposals. All applicants will be notified once decisions have been reached on the proposals.
Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair Speaks at AFN Annual General Assembly
The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair provides an update on TRC activities and presents a video of the Winnipeg National Event. View
Remembering the Children in Red Deer
On June 30, the TRC Commissioners attended a very special ceremony in Alberta to honour the 350 children who attended the Red Deer Residential School.
Click here to see this story in Inuktitut
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is pleased to announce the recruitment of two senior staff members:
• Robert Watt, Co-Director, Inuit Sub-commission
• Jennifer Hunt-Poitras, Co-Director, Inuit Sub-commission
Robert Watt has been the coordinator of a regional committee with a goal to promote increased safety and well-being of Inuit children and youth within Nunavik communities. He is a former Inuit Director for the National Aboriginal Health Organization. Watt’s parents and grandparents are former students of residential schools and as such, he is personally committed to IRS issues. He also brings Commission experience with him, through his participation in the Dog Slaughter Inquiry of Northern Quebec. Mr. Watt will be based in the TRC's Ottawa office.
Jennifer Hunt-Poitras is an award winning journalist with CBC North Television. For the past fifteen years she has produced news and documentaries broadcast in English and Inuktitut. Many of her stories have focused on the impact of residential schools within Inuit, Dene, and Métis communities. Her background also includes work as an Inuktitut interpreter/translator for the Northwest Territories Language Bureau. Hunt-Poitras was raised in Pond Inlet, Nunavut and attended a residential school in Iqaluit. Ms Hunt-Poitras will be based in Yellowknife.
TRC Executive Director Tom McMahon stated that with the appointment of the Co-Directors for the Inuit Sub-commission, the Commission will soon be well positioned to pursue its important tasks of gathering statements about residential school experiences and legacy throughout all northern regions, holding community and national events, and collecting records relevant to the residential school experience.
The appointments of Mr. Watt and Ms. Hunt-Poitras will be effective immediately.
From the March 12, 2010 Winnipeg Free Press
By Adam Wazny
THE moment was not lost on Murray Sinclair.
Sinclair, the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Justice, who serves as the chairman of the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission, had the honour of giving the traditional blessing before the critically acclaimed play Where the Blood Mixes at Prairie Theatre Exchange Thursday night.
The play tells the story of two aboriginal men fighting the demons of their experiences in the residential school system while managing the emotion of their current, everyday situations.
"It's a very important evening for everyone here," Sinclair said prior to delivering the blessing. "Because of the nature of the work we're doing (with the commission), the whole issue of how this story becomes revealed within families becomes doubly important."
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is a five-year investigation designed to document the history and examine the impact the residential school system had on aboriginal people in Canada.
The schools, institutions operated by the church on behalf of the federal government designed to integrate aboriginal children into mainstream culture, were first opened up in the late 1800s. Manitoba was home to 15 residential schools, the last of which shut its doors in 1980.
Margo Kane, one of the actresses in Where the Blood Mixes, currently touring Canada,
and Justice Murray Sinclair at the play’s Winnipeg opening.
(photo courtesy of Lisa Meeches)
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada participated in the Journey of Heroes Indian Residential School Conference held in Deroche, British Columbia from January 19-21, 2010.
The Conference theme was "Working Together for a Better Future." TRC Chair Justice Murray Sinclair delivered the keynote address also led a number of sessions. One day of activities at the meeting were given over to TRC-related events, including statement gathering.
The Conference was organized by Chehalis Health & Family Services in partnership with Sto:lo Nation Health.
A key element of the conference was the honouring of 85 former residential school students. For the ceremony, the entranceway to the community hall was adorned with cedar boughs intended to cleanse away negative thoughts. At the event, each of the school survivors was covered with a special blanket and headband.
A canoe was specially commissioned for the event, a symbol of the need for all to work together if progress is to be made. Survivors were invited to take a chip from the canoe as a reminder of the need to provide support to one another.
Organizers: Left to Right: Jason Malloway, Master of Ceremonies; Ginny Peters, Health Manager for Chehalis Band, Diane Garner (Technical Coordinator) and Brenda Pierre (Cultural Coordinator) of Chehalis Band and Eddie Gardner, Conference Coordinator.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is pleased announce the recruitment of four senior staff members:
- Lisa Meeches, Director, Events Planning and Artistic Programming
- James Bardach, Director, Strategic Planning, Communications, and Community Liaison
- Dr. John Milloy, Director of Research, Historical Records and Report Preparation
- Ry Moran, Director, Statement Gathering and National Research Centre.
Lisa Meeches has been the Executive Producer of Eagle Vision Inc. and Meeches Video Productions, two Winnipeg-based Aboriginal production companies that she founded. Eagle Vision was a co-production company on the film Capote and the television movie Elijah. Meeches has been the executive producer, director, and host of The Sharing Circle and the executive producer of Tipi Tales. With 25 years experiences in broadcasting, she is the recipient of the 2007 National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media and Communication, the 2009 YMCA-YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in the area of Creative Communications, and the 2009 University of Manitoba Excellence in Aboriginal Business Leadership Award.
James Bardach has been the Executive Director, Strategic Planning, of Poirier Communications, a national Aboriginal advertising agency that specializes in grassroots social marketing campaigns for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis audiences, for the past decade. From 1995 to 1999, he was a director with the firm. Prior to working for Poirier, he was the Director of Communications (1991-95) and Chief of Corporate Communications (1989-1991) for La Cité collégiale, Ontario’s first French-language college of applied arts and technology. He also worked for the National Capital Commission from 1985-1988.
Dr. John Milloy is history professor at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, where he is a member Trent’s Department of Indigenous Studies. He is the author of A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879 to 1986, published by the University of Manitoba Press in 1999. The book is the outcome of research that he commenced for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. In 2005, the Literary Review of Canada selected A National Crime as one of the 100 most important books in Canadian history. He is a recipient of the Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching, Trent’s most prestigious teaching honour, in 1986.
Ry Moran is the founder of YellowTilt Productions, an audio, video, and events company with a focus on Aboriginal language and oral history projects. YellowTilt has done work for the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Health Canada, the British Columbia Provincial Health Service Authority, and APTN. With Metis Nation BC, he has been involved in the development of LearnMichif.com, a project dedicated to the preservation of Michif language and culture. In his work with Traditions Consulting, he worked on the organization and development of a number of oral history projects.
TRC Executive Director Tom McMahon stated that with the appointment of the four key directors, and with the completion of renovations to its Winnipeg head office in March, the Commission will soon be well positioned to pursue its important tasks of gathering statements about residential school experiences and legacy, holding community and national events, collecting records relevant to the residential school experience, and beginning new research, including research into the fate of children who never returned from residential schools and whose parents were never informed of their fates.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission Chair Justice Murray Sinclair, Commissioner Marie Wilson, Commissioner Chief Wilton Littlechild, members of the TRC Survivor Committee and staff were welcomed to the traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations on January 12, 2010 in Tofino, British Columbia.
A morning ceremony and welcome feast in the evening were held by hereditary chiefs and community members in honour of the Commission, which travelled to the west coast to hold meetings of the Survivor Committee at the Tin Wis Resort, a site where a former residential school once stood.
Justice Sinclair expressed gratitude for the special welcome and especially thanked the many youth, Elders and former residential school survivors who came out to greet the Commission with traditional songs and cultural dance.
The TRC also welcomed the presence of Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-In-Chut Atleo in his home territory. Chief Atleo reaffirmed the commitment of the AFN in supporting the work of the Commissioners and Survivor Committee members in carrying out the mandate of the Commission.
Chair Justice Sinclair extended an invitation to the National Chief to attend the First National Event of the TRC, slated for June 15-19, 2010 at The Forks in Winnipeg, Manitoba .
Nuu-chah-nulth Hereditary Chiefs welcome TRC