Support for Ontario's Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples
Here's what Indigenous partners have to say about Ontario's response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Final Report:
"On behalf of the Chiefs of Ontario, we welcome the considerable and concrete commitments made by Premier Wynne. Today's Statement of Reconciliation marks a turning point and the beginning of a new era of a true government to government, nation to nation relationship. No longer will our Peoples be excluded and treated as an after-thought in policy making. We will move forward together as equals. The voices of our communities will be heard. The spirit and intent of the Treaties -- to share the lands and resources -- will be fulfilled. Together, we will build a stronger Ontario for our children and the generations to come. First Nations will no longer be silent. Rather, our people, families and communities will now begin to secure our rightful place on this land."
-- Isadore Day, Ontario Regional Chief
"I commend Premier Wynne and the Government of Ontario for today's commitment to act to address the Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report. Métis, First Nations and Inuit children suffered in Canada's residential school system and the announcement today acknowledges the significant and continuing negative impact of these schools. We welcome Ontario's commitment to work with the Métis Nation of Ontario and other Indigenous partners to find ways to close the gaps and remove barriers that are the legacy of residential schools, and to reconcile its relationships with Indigenous peoples."
-- M. Margaret Froh, President Métis Nation of Ontario
"I welcome the Ontario government's commitment to reconciliation, and the recognition by Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister David Zimmer that reconciliation is a process and a partnership founded on trust. I look forward to working with the government, together with Inuit in Ontario and organizations serving urban Inuit, to ensure that Ontario's Inuit population - the largest outside our homeland, Inuit Nunangat - is fully engaged in the reconciliation process. Together we can show leadership how to improve outcomes for Inuit and build respect and opportunity for Inuit wherever they live."
-- Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
"We are honoured to participate in this ceremony to mark a milestone on the path to a new relationship of mutual respect, collaboration and understanding. Reconciliation will be some of the most important work undertaken in this province by the government and the people for decades. Space and work to support Aboriginal Identity will be needed to positively transform the lives of generations to come."
-- Sheila McMahon, President, Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres
"The Ontario Native Women's Association has great respect for the courageous residential school survivors whose stories have informed the TRC of the urgent need for healing and reconciliation. ONWA acknowledges the Ontario government for their commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous women through cultural restoration that will restore Indigenous women's roles as community leaders. This is an important beginning and ONWA maintains that Indigenous women are central to this journey together. Without the leadership of Indigenous women, there is no moving forward in the healing of our families, communities and Nations from the resounding impacts of the residential school system".
-- Dawn Lavell-Harvard, President, Ontario Native Women's Association
"At first, as a survivor of residential school, I didn't really agree with the word 'reconciliation' because of going to residential school and the abuse that I received. I don't think it was my responsibility to reconcile especially to the church. But as I grew older and being encouraged by my wife, I'm starting to understand what reconciliation is. It's not only individual but it's to come to understand how you can make change from the wrong that was done. So, I think to me that's what reconciliation is: to be able to come to terms with the wrong that was done but also that you want to do something good."
-- Andrew Wesley, Residential School Survivor
"Today's apology from the Premier and government commitments for the future shows that Ontario is ready to move forward down the path to reconciliation. This is the conviction and courage that survivors, their families and their communities have been waiting for. Ontario has demonstrated true leadership that deserves attention across the country."
-- Senator Murray Sinclair, Chair Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
"When children learn the importance of where they come from, and who they are, and that others in the world care for them, they begin to internalize that vital ingredient of self-esteem: a sense of pride in self and in community."
-- Joseph Boyden, Ontario Métis author and advocate
"We need trauma focused therapeutic supports to resolve the intergenerational impacts of residential schools. Ontario is leading the way towards Indigenous healing through these firm commitments! Chi miigwetch for understanding! Indigenous youth will benefit from Premier Wynne's understanding, tomorrow arrived today in these commitments; each one is a cause for celebration!"
-- Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, Vice Provost (Aboriginal Initiatives) Lakehead University