Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) President Cathy Towtongie commended the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on issuing its final report today in Ottawa during the commission’s closing event. The report, issued by Justice Murray Sinclair, is based on extensive research and the painful testimony of former residential school students collected over the past six years. It also includes a series of recommendations on how to move toward reconciliation between Aboriginal people and the Government of Canada.
“It is of vital importance that Justice Sinclair’s report, which details the horrible realities of residential school, becomes part of the conversation in all Canadian households. All Canadians have a personal responsibility to learn about this time in Canadian history in order to better understand the lasting impacts and legacy that residential schools continue to have on a large percentage of this country’s Aboriginal population,” said President Towtongie. “Before reconciliation can truly move ahead, we all need to know the truth of what happened to former residential school students. Justice Sinclair’s report includes the testimony of former students who personally recounted their painful experiences of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. We still have much grieving to do for this time in our lives and our families and our history, and must continue to work to find ways to heal and move on to healthier futures,” she said.
NTI, representing Nunavut Inuit, was a party to the lawsuit that resulted in the Residential Schools Settlement Agreement in 2007. NTI’s involvement meant that Inuit who were forced to attend residential schools were included in the settlement agreement’s programs, which included the Common Experience Payment and the Personal Education Credit, Independent Assessment Process, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
NTI was provided funding to send nine Inuit residential school survivors to attend the closing event in Ottawa. It is estimated that between 3,000-4,000 Nunavut Inuit were forced to attend residential schools.