Bob McLeod: Truth and Reconciliation Commission Closure

Jun 1 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will be holding its closing events from May 31 to June 3 in Ottawa. This is time to reflect and I would like to express my appreciation for the great work accomplished by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The work that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has done in the Northwest Territories and across Canada has been a critical step in the healing process for people suffering from the abuse and trauma of residential schools.

It has been no small task. The Commission visited our communities, set up supports, and provided a forum where survivors could share their pain and begin to heal.

I would like to thank the members of the Commission, and in particular Commissioner Marie Wilson, a fellow Northerner, for her dedication and commitment during this process.

Residential schools have been the source of much of the pain and loss that many generations of Aboriginal people experienced. At the same time, schools can also be where some of that past is reclaimed, where some of the reconciliation that is needed can happen, where some of our hope for the future can be found.

There must be places dedicated to exploring this learning and reconciliation. Truth and Reconciliation Commission events and school curriculum are two examples of those places.

I am proud to say that the Government of the Northwest Territories has been a leader in Canada with the development of the Residential Schools curriculum in partnership with the Government of Nunavut, the Legacy of Hope and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

A significant part of our history is in this curriculum and the coursework and resources provide a deeper understanding of the impacts of residential schools on the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. This will give our students insight into the challenges faced by survivors, and a context for healing and reconciliation.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Northwest Territories, I want to thank the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for helping us to put the events and the effects of residential schools into their proper place in Canada’s history. From now on, all people who go through our school systems will know what has happened and the impacts on the Aboriginal peoples of Canada.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.