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Truth & Reconciliation Commission wraps after six years

After six years, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission presented its final report in Ottawa today.

The commission held 238 hearings in 77 communities across the country listening to survivors of the residential school system.

There were an estimated 155,000 visits to seven major National Events; which over 9,000 residential school survivors registered to attend (while many others attended but did not register).

Justice Murray Sinclair spoke to a room full of First Nations Leaders, residential school survivors, cabinet ministers including the Prime Minister and media.

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“The social conditions that indigenous people are experiencing in this country are in almost every case, a direct or indirect result of past government policies and initiatives designed to assimilate, acculturate, indoctrinate and destroy.”

The report has 94 wide-ranging recommendations tied to it.

“The calls to action are centered around a core challenge in Canadian society; a broad lack of understanding of the unjust and violent circumstances from which modern Canada has emerged and how the legacy of residential schools is a part of that history and our country today,” Sinclair said

Sinclair said that it may take generations before true reconciliation can be reached, but that he is encouraged by the recent change in government and announced an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.

“A period of change is beginning, that if sustained by the will of the people will forever realign the shared history of indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in Canada.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on an improved “nation to nation” relationship with First Nations, pledging to adopt all 94 of the recommendations.

“The final report provides a way forward for all Canadians, building on the formal apology of seven years ago,” Trudeau told the room.

“It sets us squarely on the path to true reconciliation.”

The full report can be read here.

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