Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Report Released

By Theresa Arsenault, Q.C.
Categories: Blog, First Nations

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (“TRCC”) was established by the settlement of the class action law suits against the government of Canada, brought by the survivors of the residential school system.

For over 100 years, the government of Canada removed children from the families and forced them to attend residential schools, designed to “remove the Indian from the child.” The intent was to assimilate the original aboriginal inhabitants of Canada into the dominant European , Christian culture. The TRCC heard thousands of stories of children who were separated from their parents and siblings, forbidden to speak their own language or practice their religion, and were often abused physically and mentally. Considering the aboriginal students to have inferior intellects, the “schools” were often not designed to teach academic skills, but to teach the children domestic and farm work, so the “students” became the unpaid labour that kept the schools operating.

The result of generations of children being removed from their families has been devastating socially, psychologically and physically for generations of aboriginal people. The parents were often so distraught about losing their children, that they turned to alcohol to dull the pain. That resulted in problems with violence and addiction for the parents left behind, and for the children when they returned. Generations of children were not parented and did not learn parenting skills, and many have suffered in their adult life from the abuse they suffered as children.

The goal of the TRCC is to facilitate reconciliation, which involves making apologies for the wrongs committed, providing individual and collective reparations, teaching the history of the residential school system to all Canadians, fostering healing, and ensuring the damage caused by the residential school system can never be repeated.

The report of the TRCC can be found at:
Honouring The Truth, Reconciling for the Future