Whereas on June 11, 2008, the Prime Minister of Canada offered an apology to survivors of the residential school system. Naming the policy a “sad chapter in our history,” he stated:
"The burden of this experience has been on your shoulders for far too long. The burden is properly ours as a government, and as a country. There is no place in Canada for the attitudes that inspired the Indian residential schools system to ever again prevail. You have been working on recovering from this experience for a long time and in a very real sense, we are now joining you on this journey. Unfortunately, the “burden of this experience” has not yet been shared."
Whereas while under a court order, the government of Canada has failed to produce millions of documents regarding the Indian Residential School System for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) and the TRC therefore has been unable to uncover details surrounding the treatment or students, movement and disappearance of children, and corroborate testimonies in court and recordings.
Whereas historian Ian Mosby in July 2013 published research that First Nations communities – and specifically thousands in residential schools – were unknowing subjects in biomedical experiments in malnourishment between 1942-52, this is precisely the kind of history the TRC has been tasked to uncover. Due to the failure of the federal government, however, the question of how many more events like this took place remain.
We, the undersigned, believe that it is time to fully live up to the promises in the federal government’s apology for Indian Residential Schools. We believe it is time to accept the responsibility for our shared history and work to uncover the complete history of Canada’s residential schools. We believe it is time for us all to face what happened during one of the most violent policies in this country’s history. We believe it is time to take a journey of honesty together. We demand that the federal government, without any further delay or conditions, release all documents pertaining to Indian Residential Schools to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada immediately.
We also demand that the federal government commission a national inquiry into the biomedical experiments performed by government officials on First Nations communities in order to fully inform the public on the extent on this project and investigate the legacies of its impact.
This most recent call for the release of documents made collectively by Canadians, newcomers, and Indigenous Peoples began in a public way on July 25th, 2013 at events held in eleven cities across the country under the banner "Honour The Apology." We, the undersigned, continue to stand resolute together and demand that the federal government make good on the promise inherent in Canada’s official apology for the Indian Residential School System. We call on Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Minister Shelly Glover, Minister Bernard Valcourt, and Interim Librarian and Archivist of Canada Hervé Déry to prioritize the release of documents and assign resources sufficient to expedite this process, as they all exercise influence and authority to ensure this court ordered mandate is fulfilled.
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