In its final report, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) issued 94 calls to action that it said would “redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.”
These calls to action address issues concerning: Aboriginal child welfare; education; language and culture; health; justice; equity for Aboriginal people in the legal system; a national council for reconciliation; professional development and training for public servants; church apologies and reconciliation; education for reconciliation; youth programs; museums and archives; missing children and burial information; National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation; media and reconciliation; commemoration; sports and reconciliation; business and reconciliation; and newcomers to Canada.
Here are some key calls to action specifically directed at church signatories to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, including the Anglican Church of Canada:
Church apologies and reconciliation
- For the Pope to issue an apology to survivors, their families and communities “for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children in Catholic-run residential schools.”
- For church parties to develop ongoing education strategies “to ensure that their respective congregations learn about their church’s role in colonization, the history and legacy of residential schools, and why apologies to former residential school students, their families and their communities were necessary.”
- For leaders of church parties and all other faiths, in collaboration with Indigenous spiritual leaders, survivors, schools of theology, seminaries and other religious training centres, “to develop and teach curriculum for all student clergy, and all clergy and staff who work in Aboriginal communities, on the need to respect Indigenous spirituality in its own right, the history and legacy of residential schools and the roles of the church parties in that system, the history and legacy of religious conflict in Aboriginal families and communities, and the responsibility that churches have to mitigate such conflicts and prevent spiritual violence.”
- For church parties, in collaboration with survivors and representatives of Aboriginal organizations, to establish permanent funding for Aboriginal people for: 1) community-controlled healing and reconciliation projects; 2) community-controlled culture-and-language revitalization projects; 3) community-controlled education and relationship-building projects; 4) regional dialogues for Indigenous spiritual leaders and youth to discuss Indigenous spirituality, self-determination and reconciliation.
National council for reconciliation
- For the Parliament of Canada, in consultation and collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to enact legislation to establish a National Council for Reconciliation. The council will act as an “independent, national, oversight body” that will monitor, evaluate and report annually to Parliament and the people of Canada “post-apology progress on reconciliation to ensure that government accountability for reconciling the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the Crown is maintained in the coming years.” The council will also monitor and evaluate the implementation of the TRC’s calls to action.
- For the federal government to provide multi-year funding for the council.
- For all levels of government to provide annual reports and data requested by the council, including the number of Aboriginal children, in care, compared with non-Aboriginal children; funding for education of First Nations children on and off reserves.
Missing children and burial information
- For the federal government to allocate sufficient resources to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to allow it to develop and maintain the National Residential School Student Death Register established by the TRC.
- For the federal government to work with churches, Aboriginal communities and former residential school students to establish and maintain an online registry of residential school cemeteries, including, where possible, plot maps showing the location of deceased residential school children.
- For the federal government to work with the churches and Aboriginal community leaders to inform the families of children who died at residential schools of the child’s burial location, and to respond to families’ wishes for appropriate commemoration ceremonies and markers, and reburial in home communities where requested.
Reconciliation: Canada and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- For the federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.
Settlement agreement parties and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- For church parties to the agreement, and all other faith groups and interfaith social justice groups in Canada who have not already done so, to formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms and standards of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.
- For all religious denominations and faith groups to issue a statement no later than March 31, 2016, as to how they will implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- For religious denominations and faith groups who have not already done so, to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples, such as the “Doctrine of Discovery.”
Royal proclamation and covenant of reconciliation
- For the Government of Canada, on behalf of all Canadians, to jointly develop with Aboriginal peoples a royal proclamation of reconciliation to be issued by the Crown. “The proclamation would build on the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the Treaty of Niagara of 1764, and reaffirm the nation-to-nation relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the Crown.”
- The royal proclamation of reconciliation will repudiate “concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples such as the Doctrine of Discovery.”
- For all parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement “to develop and sign a Covenant of Reconciliation.” The covenant would reaffirm their commitment to reconciliation, repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, support the renewal or establishment of treaty relationships “based on principles of mutual recognition, mutual respect, and shared responsibility for maintaining those relationships in the future.”
National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
- For the federal government to commit $10 million over seven years to help fund the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, plus additional funds to assist communities in researching and producing histories of their own residential shock experiences and their involvement in truth, healing and reconciliation.