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