LONDON – Canada’s Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller made an announcement on January 20 that Ottawa will be handing over thousands of Residential School/Institution records — meaning indigenous families will now have the chance to learn the truth about what children experienced.
Oneida Nation Grand Chief Joel Abram says “There are so many survivors that have had to grow up with a pain in their hearts that affected them, their families, and future generations. Siblings that have been separated will get a clue as to what happened to their loved ones and will gain a greater understanding of what happened at these institutions. They carry with them a dark past and this is closer to stepping into a light that will help them piece together a past has left a deep scar in all of us. The next step is to sort through a mountain of information and to make sure it gets out to those that need to and need to know what happened.”
Deputy Grand Chief Stacia Loft explains “There really are no words to describe the experience that survivors had to go through during and after their time at these institutions. These experiences have caused great harm and in many cases, destroyed the opportunity to grow, learn and live. We want the government to take the next step and provide the funding needed in order to preserve, archive, and share these records with Indigenous families, communities and Nations.”
In a statement the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians said Canada had a legal obligation to release these records to Indigenous Peoples and says, “it’s encouraging to see them finally do so. Ottawa needs to take that next step to follow through on finding other remaining children that have not been returned home and to honour them.”