May 7, 2016
WINNIPEG – A group of Indigenous activists are calling for the Government of Canada to make every June 2nd “Indian Residential School Reconciliation and Memorial Day” to ensure that all Canadians have a better understanding of their history and relationship with Indigenous peoples, and build bridges of reconciliation into the future.
The bill was the idea of Maeengan Linklater, a community volunteer and son of Indian Residential School Survivors, and will be presented to the House of Commons by Winnipeg Centre MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette, whose father and grandparents were also Residential School Survivors.
Supporters of the bill gathered at an event today at the former Assiniboia Residential School at 615 Academy Rd in Winnipeg, to explain why the Bill matters as a step in reconciliation between all Canadians. Rebecca Chartrand an Indigenous Education Consultant, performed a ceremony and blessing to start the event.
“For too many years, the legacy of Residential Schools was unknown and unspoken, but with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the time came to speak and know without fear, ” said Ouellette. “For reconciliation to work, we need a common understanding of how the Canada of today came to be, and a National day of Memorial and Reconciliation will help achieve that.”
Ouellette said that while he recognized that Private Members’ Bills are a challenge to get passed, he hoped that that citizens across Canada would encourage their MPs to support the bill.