Saturday, June 12th, 2010
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June 12, 2010
Federal Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl has accepted a “charter of forgiveness” from members of the aboriginal community as part of the healing process for survivors of Canada’s residential schools.
Chief Kenny Blacksmith presented the charter Saturday at the National Forgiven Summit, a conference of Aboriginal Peoples in Ottawa.
The charter was signed by elders and survivors, as well as young people, who said that the damage from residential schools is intergenerational.
It stems from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apology two years ago for previous government policies of assimilation. Standing in the House of Commons, Harper apologized on behalf of the government and asked for “forgiveness of the Aboriginal Peoples of this country for failing them so profoundly.”
Blacksmith, a residential school survivor and former deputy grand chief of the Grand Council of the Crees of Quebec, said that “at that moment, the onus was placed on our people as individuals to respond.”