You are here:
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Ottawa: Aboriginal and church leaders will gather late Sunday afternoon in Ottawa to mark the beginning of a multi-city tour to draw public and media attention to the upcoming work of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The Ottawa launch is being held in the Grand Hall of the Canadian Museum of Civilization between 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 2, 2008. The event, which is open to the public, is expected to draw a large crowd of indigenous, religious, and political leaders.
Guests expected to attend the leaders’ tour launch include the President of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, George Erasmus; the Interim Executive Director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Bob Watts; and the Executive Director of the National Residential Schools Survivors Society, Ted Quewezance.
As key participants, along with the federal government, in the operation of Indian Residential Schools, the Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and United Churches have committed themselves to full participation in the Truth and Reconciliation Process.
The Aboriginal and church leaders agreed to participate in the Remembering the Children tour because they wanted to highlight the significance of the work to be done by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
They hope their multi-city tour will raise awareness and help to educate both church members and other Canadians about the legacy of residential schools and the impacts of colonization on Aboriginal people and their communities.
Participating in the tour will be Phil Fontaine, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and representatives of the four mainline Christian churches who, along with the federal government, operated Canada’s Indian Residential Schools. The Protestant church leaders include:
Throughout the tour the Roman Catholic Church will be represented either by local bishops or individual priests and nuns whose religious orders were involved in operating residential schools.
Also participating at various times in the public events will be representatives of other faith groups, regional Aboriginal leaders, and representatives of both Inuit and Métis groups.
“We believe it is essential that Canadians pay close attention to this process of truth-telling,” explains Hon. David MacDonald, the United Church’s Special Advisor on residential schools, and one of the organizers of the leaders’ tour.
MacDonald adds, “This is the opportunity for all of us to hear the voices of the children who attended residential schools, to listen to their stories, and to learn, maybe for the first time, of the impact that residential schools have had on Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.”
The Remembering the Children tour includes stops in Ottawa, Vancouver, Saskatoon and Winnipeg. In addition to making themselves available for media interviews and speaking engagements in each city, the leaders will participate in a series of public events that are being planned by local organizing committees in the four cities.
The tour’s public events include:
For further information about the Aboriginal and Church Leaders’ Tour, please visit: www.rememberingthechildren.ca
To arrange media interviews with church or Aboriginal leaders who are taking part in the Remembering the Children tour, please contact:
The United Church of Canada
416-231-7680 ext. 2016 (office)
1-800-268-3781 ext. 2016 (toll-free)
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 274