Mushkegowuk accepts Ontario’s Statement of Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples
Tuesday, May 31, 2016, MOOSE FACTORY, ON: Statistics report that the majority of members of the Mushkegowuk First Nations who are age 45 and older, are survivors of various Indian Residential Schools that operated in the James Bay region, such as St Anne’s Residential School in Fort Albany and Horden Hall in Moose Factory.
At the Legislative Assembly on Monday, May 30, 2106, with residential school survivors and First Nation, Métis and Inuit leaders in attendance, Premier Kathleen Wynne apologized on behalf of the Government of Ontario for the brutalities committed for generations at residential schools and the continued harm this abuse has caused to Indigenous cultures, communities, families and individuals.
"In the days leading up to the apology, including the morning of the apology, my heart was very-very heavy, I was sad, I was thinking about how much damage was done, how many children have died, and how much needs to be done to reconcile. Unfortunately, in some cases the damage is so deep and devastating that reconciliation will not be possible but we need to give this a chance", says Grand Chief Jonathon Solomon.
The Premier's apology is part of the government's response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Final Report, released one year ago. Ontario is taking action to acknowledge one of the most shameful chapters in Canadian history and teach a new generation the truth about our shared history. The province released an action plan -- developed working closely with Indigenous partners -- that will help Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples move forward in a spirit of reconciliation.
Released in 2015, the final report of the TRC calls on all of Canada to confront the ‘cultural genocide’ of the Indian Residential School system and move from ‘apology to action’ for reconciliation with Aboriginal Peoples. It includes 94 Calls to Action and recommends new and revised legislation for education, health care, child welfare and aboriginal language that will protect children, strengthen families, restore traditional languages and allow First Nations to reconnect with their culture and traditional ways of life.
Deputy Grand Chief Rebecca Friday says; "At this time I am reminded of our great grandmother - Granny Wabano who passed away on November 14, 2105. She was a very gentle person who grew up to see and experience the great depression, World Wars 1 and 2, and many civil wars in the world. She was born 1 year before Treaty 9 was signed in 1905 and was part of the residential school legacy. At the time of her passing, Gookoom was the oldest living Canadian that attended residential school. She was a special guest at the House of Commons in 2008 when then Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized to what happen at residential school and the suffering that Aboriginal Children experienced.
"Granny Wabano was a role model who often said to have a good life, a person must forgive and to love his/her fellowman". Like Gookoom would, I do on behalf of the Mushkegowuk, accept Ontario’s apology and I look forward to Reconciliation."
For further enquiries contact Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon: 705-363-7122 (cell) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org