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September 29, 2023
“Here we are, eight long years later, and only a handful of those Calls have been fulfilled. The work to enact them appears to have stalled. And some of the simplest actions have been left untouched.” … NWAC President Carol McBride
GATINEAU, Que. — On the third National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) demands that work to implement the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) be resumed and that all the Calls be completed within an expedited time frame.
“We had great hope, when the TRC released its final report, that the process of reconciliation would begin in earnest. The Prime Minister promised to meet all 94 Calls to Action,” said NWAC President Carol McBride. “But, here we are, eight long years later, and only a handful of those Calls have been fulfilled. The work to enact them appears to have stalled. And some of the simplest have been left untouched.”
in December of last year, the Yellowhead Institute, an Indigenous-led research and education centre that monitors progress on the Calls to Action, said just 13 of those Calls had been “completed.” NWAC has observed little movement since then. And some of the simplest, including the calls to publish annual reports on the number of Indigenous children in foster care and on the educational funding and attainment for Indigenous children, have simply been ignored.
The federal government will rightfully point out it is not the only body responsible for meeting the recommendations of the TRC. But it can put pressure on other entities to live up to their obligations. And it can make some effort to meet its own, said Mrs. McBride.
“The people who were damaged by the abuses of those schools still walk among us. Their wounds have been passed on to their children and their grandchildren. This is multi-generational harm,” said Mrs. McBride.
“Now we are dealing with the deniers – the people for whom our truths have been too difficult, who shamefully discount the abuse as imaginary,” she said. “I urge them to look into the faces of the Indigenous people living in this country to see how deeply the legacy of the residential schools has been etched into the skin, into the eyes. Do that, and then try to tell me the horrors were not real.”
The National Day of Truth and Reconciliation is a day for reflection. But it should also be a day for taking stock of actions, said Mrs. McBride. “Let this be the day of recommitment to fulfilling the promise of reconciliation.”
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+1 (613) 818-6941