Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

June 28, 2011 14:12 ET

Minister Duncan Participates in Important Truth and Reconciliation Event

INUVIK, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES--(Marketwire - June 28, 2011) - The following statement was released today by the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development:

"The Government is pleased to participate in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's second national event from June 28 to July 1, 2011 in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. This event will provide former students of Indian Residential Schools and their families with the opportunity to provide their testimonies to the Commission. The event will also raise awareness about the history of the residential schools system, the experiences of former students and their families and the ongoing legacy.

My department has contributed $400,000 for former students to participate in the Inuvik event. This will help support travel and accommodation for more than 170 former students. In addition, we provided financial support to some key partners to enable them to be here in Inuvik and share their important and unique experiences with respect to healing with participants at the event.

On behalf of my colleague, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, I am pleased to inform you that Health Canada has contributed the same amount to assist with travel to the National Northern Event so that more former students could participate. There will also be approximately 120 trained health support workers on the ground, many of whom are Aboriginal and former students themselves.

In the last year, the Government of Canada formally endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to further reconcile and strengthen its relationship with Aboriginal peoples. Also, the Government apologized on behalf of all Canadians to Inuit communities for the suffering caused by the relocation of Inuit families to Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord in the High Arctic in the 1950s. And during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's first national event in Winnipeg, we announced the proposed repeal of the Indian Residential Schools sections of the Indian Act. These gestures illustrate our commitment as a government and a nation to fostering a spirit of reconciliation between Aboriginal people and all Canadians.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is one of the components in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement negotiated by the Government of Canada, Aboriginal organizations, the Churches and claimant counsel. Its mandate is to inform all Canadians about what happened in Indian Residential Schools. The Commission will document the stories of former students, families, communities and anyone personally affected by the Indian Residential Schools experience and hopes to guide and inspire Aboriginal peoples and Canadians in a process of reconciliation and renewed relationships that are based on mutual understanding and respect."

This statement and further information on related topics are available on the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada's website.

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Contact Information

  • Minister's Office
    Michelle Yao
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Honourable John Duncan
    819-997-0002

    Media Relations
    Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
    819-953-1160