National Petition – #HonourTheApology

Here is the petition for today. Please feel free to print it off and get your friends, collegues and family to sign it, especially if they can’t make it to the vigil today on Victoria Island.

Remember to bring copies with you; they will be prayed over and smudged by an Elder before presenting them to the Minister.

Petitions can also be mailed to:
Bernard Valcourt
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

No stamp needed.

A printable .pdf file of the petition is available here: HTA National Petition

On June 11, 2008, the Prime Minister of Canada offered an apology to survivors of the residential school system. Naming the policy a “sad chapter in our history,” he stated:

The burden of this experience has been on your shoulders for far too long. The burden is properly ours as a government, and as a country. There is no place in Canada for the attitudes that inspired the Indian residential schools system to ever again prevail. You have been working on recovering from this experience for a long time and in a very real sense, we are now joining you on this journey.

Unfortunately, the “burden of this experience” has not yet been shared.

Whereas, while under a court order, the government of Canada has failed to produce millions of documents regarding the Indian Residential School System for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) and the TRC therefore has been unable to uncover details surrounding the treatment or students, movement and disappearance of children, and corroborate testimonies in court and recordings,

Whereas, historian Ian Mosby in July 2013 published research that First Nations communities – and specifically thousands in residential schools – were unknowing subjects in biomedical experiments in malnourishment between 1942-52, this is precisely the kindof history the TRC has been tasked to uncover. Due to the failure of the federal government, however, the question of how many more events like this took place remain,

We, the undersigned, believe that it is time to fully live up to the promises in the federal government’s apology for Indian Residential Schools. We believe it is time to accept the responsibility for our shared history and work to uncover the complete history of Canada’sresidential schools. We believe it is time for us all to face what happened during one of themost violent policies in this country’s history.

We believe it is time to take a journey of honesty together.

We demand that the federal government, without any further delay or conditions, release all documents pertaining to Indian Residential Schools to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada immediately.

We also demand that the federal government commission a national inquiry into the biomedical experiments performed by government officials on First Nations communities in order to fully inform the public on the extent on this project and investigate the legacies of its impact.

On Thursday, July 25, we join together with Canadians, newcomers, and Indigenous peoples from all walks of life in reflecting upon and taking action to respect Canada’sapology for the Indian Residential School System. We ask that the federal government ofthis country take these first steps towards reconciliation and join us.

Name             Address                                                 Phone #                                     Signature

Letter to Minister Valcourt

This official request has been sent to Minister Bernard Valcourt:

Hon. Bernard Valcourt,

Indigenous people of Turtle Island, the land called Canada, and their allies formally and respectfully request the Government of Canada, by way of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada to turn over its archival records on Indian residential schools to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as per the order by Justice Stephen Goudge from the Ontario Superior Court (Fontaine v. Canada (Attorney General), 2013 ONSC 684). We further ask that you meet with the people at 1 p.m. EST on Thursday, July 25, 2013 at the Kumik, Main Lobby, Les Terrasses de la Chaudière, 10 Wellington Street, North Tower.

This meeting will coincide with a National Day of Prayer to honour the children lost to and the adult survivors of residential schools. All across Canada, people will be holding vigils within their respective communities. As local organizers, we are asking participants on this day to create personal requests to ask the Government of Canada to release these documents so that these children are honoured and their stories are heard.

Our concern is that the Federal Government is currently withholding documents pertaining to the residential schools in Canada. It is essential that these documents be released and the TRC has the ability to fulfill its mandate. In 2008 Canada apologized to residential school students—you need to honour it.

We, the organizers, are known as Niigaan: In Conversation. We are a coalition of Indigenous scholars, grassroots peoples, artists and business owners currently in Odawa on Algonquin territory. Each of us share a commitment to seeking justice on Turtle Island. The group formed as a response to the resurgence of Indigenous resistance, Idle No More and we have been hosting a series of gatherings and workshops with the aim to create a better understanding and better relations between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous people within the Odawa-Gatineau area.

As part of the vigil, we will be creating a visual representation of the personal impact from the federal government’s refusal to release the documents to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and demand open access to the true history of the residential schools.

The letters will be smudged and prayed over by elders prior to presenting them to the government. We would like to present these letters of request to you personally following this ceremony in the spirit of goodwill and friendship.

Kiih nah dimikooh chipiinahkish kawahdaw Anishniniwug.

You are requested to come and meet with the people.

Honour The Apology

Honour the Apology: Call for Volunteers!

We need volunteers! This is a grassroots-driven effort to honour the brave children that went to residential schools, the survivors and their families, the children that are in state care today, and to work towards a brighter future for the next seven generations. We don’t have a lot of time to coordinate, but with many hands we can ensure the rally goes smoothly.

We are looking for volunteers in coordinating
– meeting and assembling at AANDC (Aboriginal Affairs)
– speakers
– outdoor sound on Parliament Hill
– Elders
– youth
– drummers and dancers – especially jingle dresses for healing and prayer
– the collection of posters, photographs, letters, and postcards to be smudged before delivering to AANDC
– designing a poster (black and white), printing, and distribution
– making signs and posters

Please email with how you can help or any suggestions. Chi-miigwech!

Honour The Apology