Canada’s committed to reconciliation with Indigenous people
‘The residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador were born of colonial policies that deeply harmed children, their families and their communities. We recognize the trauma still impacting former students as well as the generations of children and grandchildren of those that attended these schools.” Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett
On November 24, 2017, Prime Minister Trudeau apologized to former students of Newfoundland and Labrador residential schools and their families in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. At the same time, the Prime Minister officially launched the healing and commemoration portion of the settlement agreement. As part of those activities, the Ministerial Special Representative, James Igloliorte, met with former students who shared stories of their experiences at these residential schools. This gave rise to the Healing and Commemoration Project.
Today, through their dedicated and tireless efforts, the Healing and Commemoration Project Advisory Committee and the Rooms Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador launched the new Healing and Commemoration Collection’s Online Portal. The Portal commemorates the experiences of former students who attended the Nain, St. Anthony, Lockwood, Makkovik and Yale residential schools and represents an important and meaningful step forward on the path to reconciliation.
Under the leadership of former students, and through partnership between The Rooms and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, the Healing and Commemoration Project promotes educational and legacy initiatives to ensure that the history of Newfoundland and Labrador residential schools and students is preserved for future generations.
One of these activities is this archival collection that brings together stories bravely shared by former students with a wealth of historical information as part of a searchable and expandable archival collection. These videos, statements, audio recordings, transcripts, pictures and other materials provided by former students speaks to the legacy of the five residential schools in the province.
These stories and histories belong to those who lived them and we are grateful to those who have shared and continue to share their experiences and memories. Recognizing this, while the Healing and Commemoration Collection will be available online, it will also find its permanent home at Them Days Inc. in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador so that it is accessible to former students, their families and their communities. This Portal will provide all Canadians with the opportunity to learn more about our shared history. Once we know the truth we all have a responsibility to understand the role we each need to play on the journey of reconciliation.”