Ottawa National Event Multimedia, May/June 2015
An estimated 10,000 people joined the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Walk for Reconciliation. Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, led the Anglican delegation, which included representatives from various dioceses across Canada. Photos: André Forget/ Anglican Journal
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In his annual New Year's address at Christ Church Cathedral, the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, said the church must ensure that the interests and well-being of children, in Canada and around the world, are upheld.
The six-year mandate of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) ended December 15 with the release of a multi-volume report that ushers in what the commissioners called a "new era in reconciliation for Canada."
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) has been investigating the tragic legacy of Canada's Indian residential schools for the past six years, and last Wednesday, June 3, it held its closing ceremonies at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, but two prominent Indigenous Anglicans who had come to Ottawa for the final events were not present.
National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald said he is hopeful that the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) outlining concrete actions that would respect the sovereignty and integrity of Canada's Indigenous peoples would help Indigenous Anglicans' own struggle for self-determination within the Anglican Church of Canada.
In a solemn ceremony marking the conclusion of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Governor General David Johnston urged Canadians to seize a historic opportunity "to look back, and to look forward together" and to begin "a new chapter in the story of Canada and its diverse peoples."
The first event of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) began in Winnipeg in 2010 with residential school survivors lighting a sacred fire where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet; the last one ended in Ottawa on June 3 with children leading the way out of Rideau Hall and into a garden of paper hearts.
Acknowledging that their apologies for harms done at Indian residential schools "are not enough," Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United church leaders on June 2 welcomed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) recommendations that they say will offer direction to their "continuing commitment to reconciliation" with Indigenous peoples.
A journey of six years reached its climax on June 2 when the summary of the final report of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was presented to a crowded audience in the Grand Ballroom of Ottawa's Delta hotel.
Addressing what it described as a "cultural genocide" inflicted for over a century on Canada's Aboriginal peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) on June 2 issued 94 wide-ranging "Calls to Action," including the creation of a National Council for Reconciliation, a Royal Proclamation and Covenant on Reconciliation and an apology from the Pope for the Roman Catholic Church's role in residential schools.
"My mom and dad didn't tell us why they were putting us on the train. I thought they were coming with us," said Clara Fergus, a Cree woman from northern Manitoba to a sharing circle on the morning of June 1, at the beginning of the final event of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides "a crucial framework for achieving reconciliation, justice and healing in Canada for all indigenous peoples," according to Paul Joffe, a lawyer who represents the Grand Council of the Crees in international forums and who has done a lot of work on aboriginal law.
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."
At the conclusion of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's (TRC) six-year work of collecting testimonies and facts around the Indian residential schools, its chair Justice Murray Sinclair urged Canadians to believe not only that healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people can happen, but that "it should happen."