By Nicole Williams
The chair of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission says that the new Trudeau government is taking a step in the right direction, but won’t be able to singlehandedly repair the damage done to aboriginal people forced into residential schools.
Justice Murray Sinclair hosted a lecture yesterday at Humber College’s Lakeshore Campus to help put Canadian history into perspective.
Sinclair was the first aboriginal judge appointed in his home province of Manitoba and is head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
It is the only commission in the world that looks at the treatment of children at the hand of the government.
During his lecture, Sinclair told staff and students the steps necessary towards reconciliation.
“It involves putting back things that were taken, rebuilding things that have been destroyed, and allowing the people who have been disrespected for so long to stand back on their own feet,” said Sinclair.
The commission spent six year listening to residential school survivors tell their stories.
Sinclair says that he acknowledges that the path towards reconciliation is too long for the Trudeau government to accomplish alone.
He also says it’s important to open the dialogue that has been kept quiet for so long by former Canadian governments.
“What I think we need to move towards is to deal with the mistrust and misunderstanding [between aboriginals and Canada] so that we’re able to establish a proper respectful relationship, and that’s going to take some time,” said Sinclair.
“It took us seven generations to create this mess, it’s going to take us a few generations to deal with it properly.”
Sinclair also says it’s important for all Canadians to give voices to those who cannot speak for themselves and to never forget the children, that will never return home.
*Aired on 11-26-15 on Humber TV