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Truth and Reconciliation Commission releases Final Report

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools released its final report on Dec. 15. Commissioners Marie Wilson and Chief Wilton Littlechild are pictured with commission chair Murray Sinclair at the Shaw Centre in downtown Ottawa.

The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett. 'I just think that reconciliation means that you are always dealing with the truth that hurts, but it also is about being part of the healing and about going forward, not only for the survivors, but to honour the amazing work of the commissioners that was so difficult but it is the future of Canada. It is, as the Prime Minister has said, the unfinished work of confederation and it's something that we need to share with every single Canadian if we're going to get this right,' she said.

The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

Twelve-year-old drummer Theland Kicknosway of Walpole Island First Nation in southwestern Ontario. His spirit names are Thunderbird Boy and Sundance Boy.

The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

A community elder who led the procession into the final report event.

The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

NDP MP Charlie Angus is his party's indigenous and northern affairs critic. He attended the final report event.

The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

NDP MP Charlie Angus is his party's indigenous and northern affairs critic. He attended the final report event.

TRC chair Murray Sinclair made some opening remarks at the final report event. “Ours was a Commission like no other, charged with the responsibility to unveil what Canada as a government and as a nation had done to and with the children of indigenous people and societies since Confederation. Ours was inevitably going to be a journey of discovery that would be filled with challenge, with pain, with horror, tinged with sadness and despair but also perhaps surprisingly to those who were there accompanied by laughter, by joy, by love and by courage. That is because ultimately the story of the truth of residential schools in this country is a story about the resilience of children. It is a story about survival,” he said.

TRC commissioner Chief Wilton Littlechild said: “I stand before you as a commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission but also as a former residential school survivor myself. I’m also a lifelong competitive athlete, a lawyer and a former Member of Parliament. I began my passion for sports when I was in residential school especially hockey. It gave me an outlet to feel I could be good at something, to feel good about myself, to find escape from the painful parts of my own school experience.”

The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

TRC commissioner Marie Wilson said: “You shared with us your devastating and yet inspirational stories of childhood, your experiences as children, times that were supposed to be safe and sound and happy. There you were removed from families and cultural surroundings to be assimilated intentionally into white Christian ways of thinking and speaking whether English or French. I think also today of the collective hopes you have held for this day and for the days to come.”

The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

Chief Wilton Littlechild, Murray Sinclair and Marie Wilson pull back a blanket to unveil the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada on the history of Canada's residential school system. It is six volumes and more than 4,000 pages.

The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “Let me tell you, the work that you have done here today, the work that all of you here are part of will ensure that never again in the future of Canada will students be told that this is not an integral part of everything we are as a country, everything we are as Canadians. That is a promise we make right here, all of us today.”

The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

Justice Murray Sinclair with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who got emotional during the final report event.

The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

Marie Wilson, Wilton Littlechild, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Murray Sinclair.

The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets an elder.

The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright