The members of the Residential School Documents Advisory Committee was unveiled by the federal government and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation last week.

The Residential School Documents Advisory Committee will be made up of six individuals: Residential School survivor Eugene Arcand, from Muskeg Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan, fellow survivors Maata Evaluardjuk-Palmer from Mittimatalik in Nunavut, Shirley Horn from Missanabie Cree First Nation, Ted Quezewance from Keesekoose First Nation in Saskatchewan, and intergenerational survivor Dr. Gwen Point from Skowkale First Nation in British Columbia, as well as  University of Ottawa chair of Metis research Brenda Macdougall. 

The makeup of the committee was a joint effort by the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the Métis National Council.

Committee chair Cadmus Delorme said he was excited for the committee to get to work.

“It is an honour to help lead an important action to help in Truth and Reconciliation,” he said. “Many Indigenous governing bodies are leading the research in validation of unmarked graves across the country. Each research team requires records and the Government of Canada is showing their commitment to providing records associated to the once-140 Residential Schools. The mandate to provide a report on the action to do this is already underway. I look forward to working with Indigenous knowledge keepers, government officials, and others who will assure we get to our end goal.”

The 14 agencies who will have representation are Agriculture Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, the Department of Justice, Employment and Social Development Canada, Health Canada, Indigenous Services Canada, Library and Archives Canada, the National Film Board, Parks Canada, the Privy Council Office, Public Services and Procurement Canada the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, the NCTR and the Independent Special Interlocutor for Missing Children and Unmarked Graves and Burial Sites associated with Indian Residential Schools.

The committee recently was provided with millions more documents than was initially predicted, the government said.

Through an initial scoping review, the departments and agencies that are on the committee identified as many as 23 million additional documents related to Residential Schools and the implementation of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA). The trove of documentation goes above and beyond the type of documents that were required to be disclosed to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and are in addition to the more than 1.5 million documents and higher-quality images recently provided to the NCTR through a memorandum of understanding signed in January of last year.

Federal Crown-Indigenous Relations minister Marc Miller said the government was morally obligated to turn over the extra relevant documentation.

“Sharing Residential School-related documents outside of legal obligation is an important shift in Canada’s approach, one that increases transparency and accountability, which is critical to advancing reconciliation,” Miller said. “The committee’s direction is necessary to ensuring that Canada can continue to respond to the ongoing impacts of residential schools in the ways First Nations, Inuit and Métis survivors, families and communities expect.”

By Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 06, 2023 at 07:06

This item reprinted with permission from   lori:wase   Kahnawake, Quebec
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