On March 2, church and Aboriginal leaders kicked off the Remembering the Children Tour to promote the upcoming Truth and Reconciliation Commission on residential schools. More than 450 people gathered at the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Que. for an emotional evening of cultural presentations and speeches.
The leaders participating are:
- The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, Primate, the Anglican Church of Canada
- Rev. Hans Kouwenberg, Moderator, the Presbyterian Church in Canada
- Right Rev. David Giuliano, Moderator, the United Church of Canada
- Phil Fontaine, National Chief, Assembly of First Nations
- Right Rev. Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop, Anglican Church of Canada
Local Roman Catholic and Aboriginal leaders will also participate at various points in the tour.
At each city stop, leaders will encourage Canadians, and especially members of their churches, to get involved with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a five-year program that will listen to the stories of residential school survivors and educate the Canadian public about the schools’ history and legacy. All parties on the tour look forward to the official announcement of this commission by the government of Canada.
If you can’t attend a Remembering the Children event, the website is a great place to keep up. Photos of the Ottawa event are now available, as well as the first reflection (each church leader will share their thoughts on a certain city stop throughout the tour). You can also sign up for updates, so you will be emailed about any new content.
Between 1820 and 1969, the Anglican Church of Canada helped run about 36 residential schools. In 1993, Archbishop Michael Peers, then Primate, made an apology for the church’s involvement. The healing process between churches and Aboriginals is ongoing, through programs like Indigenous Ministries and the Anglican Healing Fund.
“If we allow the truth to be told and have a heart to hear it, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will be a doorway to a better Canada for us all. In fact, at this moment, it is the most important doorway to a liveable future,” said National Indigenous Anglican Bishop MacDonald.
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