Co-hosted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) and the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN), the event will be an opportunity for those affected by the residential school system to share their experiences. The event will take place at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre.
“Ensuring that Yukoners have an opportunity to learn firsthand about the impacts and legacy of the Indian residential schools is a crucial part of the TRC’s mandate,” said a statement by TRC Chair Justice Murray Sinclair.
“Events like this are key to the success of assisting in the healing path of those affected by the residential school trauma,” said a statement by CYFN Grand Chief Ruth Massie. The CYFN is made up of 10 Yukon First Nations, and advocates on key issues involving their people.
Created as part of the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the TRC’s task is to document the 130-year history of residential schools and to educate Canadians about it. From the late 19th century to the mid-20th century, about 150,000 aboriginal children were put into residential schools across Canada. Many were physically, emotionally and sexually abused.
The Anglican Church of Canada operated 35 of these schools, including four in the Yukon: Chooutla Indian Residential Schools in Carcross (1911 to 1969); Shingle Point, (1929 to 1936); St. Paul’s Hostel in Dawson (1920 to 1952); and St. Agnes Hostel in Whitehorse (1952 to 1966).
The regional event will feature a panel with TRC commissioners, private gathering of statements by former students, traditional ceremonies, an education day for local highschool students and cultural performances. The archives of General Synod will display photographs and resources for residential school survivors and their families, as well as for Grades 10 to 12 students who will be participating.
General Synod, the governing body of the Anglican Church of Canada, has allotted $5,000 towards meals for survivors and their families.