Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

June 11, 2009 09:48 ET

Statement/The Apology: One Year Later

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 11, 2009) - The following statement was released by the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians:

"June 11, 2009 marks the first anniversary of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's historic apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools on behalf of all Canadians.

This apology set the stage for the future. One year ago today the Prime Minister stated, "Years of work by survivors, communities, and Aboriginal organizations culminated in an agreement that gives us a new beginning and an opportunity to move forward together in partnership."

This past year has seen many victories and some challenges. I was personally disappointed by the delays encountered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) - a cornerstone of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement. I am delighted that we have been able to rekindle that process with a new Chairperson and commissioners. I know there is an urgency to capture the statements of the survivors, and we are fully committed to the successful implementation of the TRC.

It was with great pleasure that I announced the appointment of Justice Murray Sinclair as the new Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Justice Sinclair will be assisted in his work by two Commissioners: Marie Wilson and Wilton Littlechild. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is now ready to take on its important role. The Government of Canada remains committed to seeing that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's mandate be fulfilled in the interest of former students to the Settlement Agreement, and of all Canadians.

More than a year and a half ago, the Government of Canada began to implement the Settlement Agreement to address the legacy of Indian Residential Schools. Over 73,000 survivors across this country have received compensation through the Common Experience Payment process, and a further 2,300 have received compensation through the Independent Assessment Process.

Clearly, compensation alone does not address the impact that the Indian Residential Schools system has had on the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people of this country. Therefore we will continue to work closely with former students, their families, and communities in a spirit of reconciliation and healing.

This coming year commemoration activities will begin, allowing Canadians to acknowledge the experiences of former students, as well as the broad systemic impacts of the Residential Schools System. True reconciliation and healing will only come about when the pain and suffering of the survivors of Indian Residential Schools is spoken by them and heard by us in a spirit of respect.

Chuck Strahl

Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
    Nina Chiarelli
    Press Secretary
    Media Relations