Addressing the Shameful Legacy of Residential Schools
Reconciliation starts with acknowledging Canada’s ugly history toward its Indigenous people. We can start by doing the simple things by stopping denying Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir. John A Macdonald was one of the key architects of Canada’s Residential School System. A system designed to destroy the Indigenous way of life, culture and languages and “kill the Indian in every child.”
The notion of reconciliation has to be between nation to nation with the genuine intent of improving the lives of Canada’s Indigenous people. With the announcement of yesterday’s Federal budget, the significant financial investment allocated to Indigenous communities is seen as another step toward reconciliation.
- Budget 2022 proposes to provide $209.8 million over five years, starting in 2022‑23, to increase the support provided to communities to document, locate, and memorialize burial sites at former residential schools; to support the operations of and a new building for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation; and to ensure the complete disclosure of federal documents related to residential schools.
- Budget 2022 also proposes $10.4 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, to support the appointment of a Special Interlocutor who will work collaboratively with Indigenous peoples and make recommendations for changes to strengthen federal laws and practices to protect and preserve unmarked burial sites.
- Budget 2022 also proposes $5.1 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, to ensure the Royal Canadian Mounted Police can support community-led responses to unmarked burial sites.
- Budget 2022 also proposes $25 million over three years, starting in 2022-23, to support the digitization of millions of documents relating to the federal Indian Day School System, which will ensure survivors and all Canadians have meaningful access to them.
- Budget 2022 also proposes to provide $25 million over three years, starting in 2022-23, to Parks Canada to support the commemoration and memorialization of former residential schools sites.
The federal government will continue to be there to support communities as they respond to and heal from intergenerational trauma and the ongoing impact of residential schools. Addressing the legacy of residential schools will take time, and Canada will undertake this work in partnership with Indigenous people and communities.