June 11th, 2013 will mark five years since we heard your apology on behalf of Canada asking forgiveness for your policy of assimilation, recognizing the wrong and great harm caused by the residential school system.
The legacy of residential schools has had far reaching implications touching virtually every Aboriginal person and family.
The Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples linked the residential school system to the disruption of Aboriginal families. It recognized the need to establish a network of healing lodges to support healing and wellness of Aboriginal peoples and to fill the acute need of treatment for residential school survivors overwhelmed by social, emotional and spiritual distress. The Native Women’s Association reports at least 585 Aboriginal women are missing or have been murdered in Canada in the last 20-30 years; suicide rates are 5 to 6 times higher among Aboriginal youth than the general population and nearly half of the children in care are Aboriginal.
Yet here we are five years later with the funding for our 15 healing centres which were created to respond to the trauma experienced by residential school survivors and of those inter-generationally impacted to cease in December 2013 as the Aboriginal Healing Foundation has begun to wind down.
Your assistance in this matter is greatly appreciated as we petition PM Stephen Harper to continue to support the healing of our Residential School Survivors!
The Aboriginal Healing Centre Network www.ahcnetwork.ca
New avenues are necessary to continue these fundamental services provided by our 15 healing centres. Closing them will place survivors and their families in untenable circumstance of risk which is not an acceptable remedy.
We urge you and your government to reinstate the funding required for the continuation of the essential services provided by these healing centres. As you stated in your apology Mr. Harper, this is a burden that we cannot and should not bear alone.