Monday, June 29, 2015

Ottawa,  June 2, 2015

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC)  held several closing events in Ottawa between May 31 and June 3 to mark the release of its final report on Indian residential schools.

Over the six years when the Commission held hearings across the country, people associated with IofC Canada have engaged in the process and taken part in the events.

The Citizen Project in Quebec, and the Circles of Trust that have grown from it, have helped raise awareness and bring Canadians of all backgrounds into the conversation. The TRC recognized the importance of this contribution by including in the closing events a performance of Voix du Silence, which was a central part of the Citizen Project, a fruitful partnership between Initiatives of Change Canada and Espace Art Nature.

Voix du Silence is a moving retelling of the residential school story through the words of survivors, evoking pain but also the hope of healing and reconciliation. The performance on June 1 was on an outdoor stage erected in front of Ottawa City Hall and was introduced by TRC Commissioner Chief Wilton Littlechild.  Fifteen people responded to the invitation to take part in a Circle of Trust the following day.

On May 31, twenty local IofC friends gathered for supper at the home of Richard and Rosalind Weeks to welcome the four members of Espace Art Nature, Isabelle, Bénédicte, Jean-Noël and Pierre, and Nicole O’Bomsawin from Odanak.

Earlier that day, thousands joined the Reconciliation Walk with residential school survivors, church and union groups, First Nations, local, provincial and national political leaders, led by the TRC Commissioners.

The question for us all is: How do we continue to walk together in an ever more meaningful way, recognizing that ‘this ending is only a beginning’?

Richard Weeks, Ottawa