Truth and Reconciliation — Commemoration

By Rita Button

The Calls to Action created by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg comments on what is needed in order for us to share our history and create a clear and honest heritage, thereby contributing to understanding and respect for each other. The idea is for the federal government to form a framework of collaboration with survivors, Aboriginal organizations and the arts community with the purpose of creating a reconciliation framework which would include the following:

  • Add First Nations, Inuit and Metis to the current historic sites and monuments commemorating past events, thereby telling the whole story.

  • Include Indigenous history as a part of the decision-making in deciding the forms of national historical monuments.

  • Create and implement a national heritage plan to commemorate the legacy of residential schools, their sites, and the contributions of Aboriginal peoples to Canada’s history.

  • In order for Canadians to remember the Reconciliation process and the history of residential schools, the Centre calls on the federal government in collaboration with Aboriginal Peoples, to establish a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

  • As well, “in collaboration with Survivors and their organizations”, (p.84) the federal government should “commission and install a highly visible Residential Schools National Monument…in Ottawa to honour Survivors and all the children who were lost to their families and communities” (p.85). Also, each capital city in Canada should install a monument for the same reasons.

  • Finally, the Centre calls upon the Canada Council for the Arts to establish funding to support collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists so that they can create works that “contribute to the reconciliation process” (p.86).

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All quotations were taken from the booklet published by National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg.

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