Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
Volume One : Summary : Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the FutureBook - 2015
This is the Final Report of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its six-year investigation of the residential school system for Aboriginal youth and the legacy of these schools. This report, the summary volume, includes the history of residential schools, the legacy of that school system, and the full text of the Commission's 94 recommendations for action to address that legacy.
This report lays bare a part of Canada's history that until recently was little-known to most non-Aboriginal Canadians. The Commission discusses the logic of the colonization of Canada's territories, and why and how policy and practice developed to end the existence of distinct societies of Aboriginal peoples.
Using brief excerpts from the powerful testimony heard from Survivors, this report documents the residential school system which forced children into institutions where they were forbidden to speak their language, required to discard their clothing in favour of institutional wear, given inadequate food, housed in inferior and fire-prone buildings, required to work when they should have been studying, and subjected to emotional, psychological and often physical abuse. In this setting, cruel punishments were all too common, as was sexual abuse.
More than 30,000 Survivors have been compensated financially by the Government of Canada for their experiences in residential schools, but the legacy of this experience is ongoing today. This report explains the links to high rates of Aboriginal children being taken from their families, abuse of drugs and alcohol, and high rates of suicide. The report documents the drastic decline in the presence of Aboriginal languages, even as Survivors and others work to maintain their distinctive cultures, traditions, and governance.
The report offers 94 calls to action on the part of governments, churches, public institutions and non-Aboriginal Canadians as a path to meaningful reconciliation of Canada today with Aboriginal citizens. Even though the historical experience of residential schools constituted an act of cultural genocide by Canadian government authorities, the United Nation's declaration of the rights of aboriginal peoples and the specific recommendations of the Commission offer a path to move from apology for these events to true reconciliation that can be embraced by all Canadians.
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The federal government of Canada has estimated that at least 150,000 First Nation, Métis, and Inuit students passed through the aboriginal school system between 1878 to 1996. The death toll at the residential schools has been estimated to be from 3,000 to as high as 6,000 due to infectious diseases and the consequences of various abuses. Most of these deaths occurred before 1940 when the mortality rate was about double the death rate for non-aboriginal children. As of December 2012 a total of $1.62 billion has been paid to 78,750 former students from the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. This book outlines this tragedy and presents the 94 recommendations for healing and reconciliation. This summary volume concludes with end notes and a bibliography but no index.
This book summarizes the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada which was submitted on December 5,2015.
Reconciliation in this context can be defined as "an ongoing process of establishing and maintaining respectful relationships" among First Nations, Inuit, Metis and the people of Canada.
The report charts some of the ways that may lead to reconciliation, including a summary description and background for each of the 94 Calls to Action.
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