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On December 15, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its final report into the history and legacy of Canada's Indian Residential School System. The Commission issued 94 Calls to Action at its closing ceremonies in June 2015, urging all levels of government and society to work together to repair the harm caused by residential schools and move forward with the process of reconciliation in Canada. The final report is the culmination of six years of extraordinary work by the TRC and includes an entire volume dedicated to telling the Métis experience with Canadian residential schools.
On December 16, Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Gary Lipinski wrote Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to congratulate the federal government for its commitment to move forward on fully implementing the TRC Calls to Action, and in particular for launching the much awaited National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
"It is refreshing to have a federal government that recognizes that we must take action to address the violence that has been done to Métis, First Nations and Inuit women and children in this country -- both historically through government and church run institutions as well as today in the astoundingly high numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women", stated President Lipinski. "The MNO welcomes the TRC final report and all 94 TRC Calls to Action. While some of those Calls to Action are specific to our First Nations brothers and sisters, the majority of the Calls to Action apply to all Aboriginal Peoples in Canada -- First Nations, Inuit and Métis. The MNO commends TRC Chair, Justice Murray Sinclair, IPC, Chief Wilton Littlechild, IPC and Dr. Marie Wilson for their commitment and the extraordinary service they have provided to all Canadians through this important work."
Volume Three of the TRC Final Report speaks to the limits of the mandate provided to the TRC derived from the 2006 Indian Residential Schools (IRS) Settlement Agreement, and notes that the Métis experience of residential schooling has been overlooked for too long, describing this is an ‘ongoing shame’ that needs to be addressed and rectified.
"The lack of relationship and recognition of the Métis by Canada that has existed historically is something that still permeates today, as you see reflected in an ongoing lack of federal policy regarding the Métis which has a huge negative impact on our citizens and communities. This is indeed an ongoing shame that needs to be addressed and rectified," added President Lipinski. "The MNO is hopeful given the commitments made by the Liberal Party in the recent election which are now reflected in the mandate letters provided to Prime Minister Trudeau's Cabinet. The lack of relationship with the federal government and the lack of recognition of the Métis Nation is changing. The Métis Nation of Ontario looks forward to working with the Trudeau Government, and the Ontario Government under the leadership of Premier Kathleen Wynne, to build that relationship and to move forward, together, on our path of reconciliation."
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