Anniversary of Apology to Former Students of Residential Schools

From: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

A National Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support to former Residential School students. You can access emotional crisis referral services. You can also find information on how to obtain other health supports from the Government of Canada.

Please call the Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419 if you or someone you know is triggered while reading this.

We encourage all those who need some support at this time to reach out and know that support is always there for you through the Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 (toll-free) or the online chat at hopeforwellness.ca, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Ottawa, Ontario (June 11, 2021) – The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, and the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, issued the following statement today:

“Today marks the 13th anniversary of the Statement of Apology to Former Students of Residential Schools for the harms they suffered by their forced participation at residential schools. We acknowledge that this colonial policy caused harm to Survivors and their families that was so severe that the intergenerational impacts still reverberate and shake communities today.

We honour the bravery of those who told their truths during the gatherings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and to those who went through the Independent Assessment Process. While the Independent Assessment Process was not a perfect process, it was intended to acknowledge the harms endured by those children who were sent to residential schools and to support the beginning of their healing journeys in an effort to compensate them for the harms suffered while attending a residential school. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established to find the truth about what happened in those schools and to try to bring the country together on the path of reconciliation. We renew our commitment to each of the 94 Calls to Action, which are an appeal to mobilize all levels of government, organizations and individuals to make concrete changes in Canadian society to address the ongoing legacy of residential schools.

This commitment is all the more pressing following the recent news of the remains found on the grounds surrounding the Kamloops residential school. The loss of children is tragic and horrific. We will stand by and support families, Survivors and communities, as well as to memorialize those lost innocent souls. We know communities know best what they need, and we will be there to support them. We have listened and are ensuring that any approaches taken are informed by Indigenous partners and those directly impacted by recent events, and are responsive to the needs of communities.

We reaffirm that the Residential Schools Health Support Program will continue as a result of the close to the $600 million Mental Health and Wellness Strategy that Budget 2021 announced on April 19, 2021. We are monitoring requests for surge supports as a result of this tragic discovery. In addition, $27.1 million is being distributed on an urgent basis to support Indigenous partners and communities in developing community plans, conducting research and gathering knowledge to identify and delineate burial sites, to memorialize and commemorate them, and to return their loved ones’ remains home, as requested.

Today, on the anniversary of the Apology, we acknowledge the profound pain the legacy of residential schools has caused and continues to cause and we ask again for your forgiveness for failing you so profoundly.”

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