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NTI Responds to Apology to Former Residential School Students

NR 08-26 APO ENG Residential Schools Apology.doc

(June 12, 2008 -Iqaluit, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik President Paul Kaludjak today accepted Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apology to Canada’s Aboriginal residential school students. Kaludjak was in Ottawa with NTI 1st Vice-President James Eetoolook to hear the apology.

Today, some closure is offered to former students and their families. The Government of Canada apology in the House of Commons is seen by many Inuit as a fundamental step on the path of healing. The apology will help restore the personal dignity that was lost. I regret that this apology did not come in time for all former residential school students to hear it. So many Inuit passed away before hearing this acknowledgment of their suffering, said Kaludjak.

In the apology, the Government of Canada acknowledged the suffering it caused to thousands of Inuit children and the devastating and inter-generational affect it has had on our families. By making this apology, the Government of Canada accepted responsibility for causing these harms by establishing and running residential schools.

Accepting an apology doesn’t undo what has happened, but it can help us move forward in our healing process. This is an important day for all Inuit, but especially for those people and their families who firsthand experienced the pain caused by residential schools, said Kaludjak.

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