Toronto proclaims Year of Truth and Reconciliation acknowledging impact of Canada's residential schools|
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At an event at City Hall this morning, the City of Toronto along with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) proclaimed November 12, 2013 to November 12, 2014 the Year of Truth and Reconciliation in Toronto to acknowledge the impact of the Residential School System on Aboriginal peoples and on all Canadians.
Elder Andrew Wesley provided the opening remarks and Councillor Mike Layton (Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina), Chair of the Aboriginal Affairs Committee, provided comments and read the proclamation. Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the TRC, also provided comments, and Phil Fontaine, former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, was the Honorary Witness for the event. Students from Hagersville High School presented artwork to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the City of Toronto.
“The City values the contributions of the Aboriginal community in Toronto, many of whom are Residential School Survivors or their family members who have been affected by the legacy of the residential school system,” said Councillor Layton. “This year-long proclamation acknowledges those injustices of the residential school system on Aboriginal peoples. It also adds to the ongoing work the City is doing to build strong working relationships with Aboriginal communities and partnerships for the development of successful programs and policies.”
Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the TRC, described the proclamation as both visionary and practical. “Many good things are packed into Toronto City Council’s proclamation of the Year of Truth and Reconciliation,” he said. “The proclamation acknowledges past harms and their continuing legacy. It speaks of necessary commitments to mutual recognition, respect and responsibility. And it sets out strategies and activities designed to produce actual results – a greater role for Aboriginal peoples in the life of Toronto, and better relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples.”
A small reception was held for the participants following the proclamation.
For the week of November 13 to 15, the exhibition 100 Years of Loss – the Residential School System in Canada will be on display in the City Hall rotunda for public viewing. This bilingual exhibition was created by the Legacy of Hope Foundation and is designed to raise awareness about the history and legacy of residential schools.
About the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is an independent commission established as a result of the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Its mandate is to inform all Canadians about what happened in the nearly 130-year history of the residential schools, and to guide and inspire a process of reconciliation and renewed relationships based on mutual understanding and respect.
More information about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and about Canada's residential schools is available at http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=4.
Aboriginal Affairs at the City of Toronto
The City of Toronto recognizes and respects the unique status and cultural diversity of the Aboriginal communities of Toronto. The City continues its commitment to supporting the Aboriginal right to self-determination by working inclusively with Aboriginal communities in Toronto to achieve equitable outcomes within their communities and their day-to-day lives. In collaboration with Aboriginal communities, the City hosts events and engages in intergovernmental dialogue on an Urban Aboriginal strategy under the leadership of an Aboriginal Affairs Committee.
The Aboriginal Affairs Committee is an advisory body to the Mayor and City Council. The Aboriginal Affairs Committee's main focus is to assist with the development of a framework for Urban Aboriginal Relations. More information is available at http://www.toronto.ca/aboriginalaffairs.
Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
|Consultant, Equity, Diversity and Human Rights Division, City Manager’s Office|
|Senior Communications Advisor, Truth and Reconciliation Commission|