The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) was created in 2008 to acknowledge and attend to the deep harm done to Indigenous people through the Indian Residential School system.
Indian residential schools were designed to "take the Indian out of the child," in the words of Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald. Children as young as four were forced to attend the schools, which were paid for by the Canadian government and run by Christian churches. The students who attended these institutions were terribly abused. Although many records are incomplete and inaccessible, it is estimated that between 4,100 and 6,500 Indigenous children died while attending Indian residential schools. The last school closed in 1996.
In 2015, the TRC published a summary of its final report, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future, opens a new window. Included in this report are 94 Calls to Action, opens a new window. Inspired by the stories painfully shared by more than 6, 000 Survivors, the 94 Calls to Action represents an act of openheartedness and generosity offered to the people of Canada. In this short document, a comprehensive plan is presented for accepting responsibility and seeking forgiveness in a spirit of reconciliation. Library copies are available for borrowing at the link above.
In the six years since, progress on the 94 Calls to Action has been mixed. As of October 2021, according to the CBC's Beyond 94 website, opens a new window, only 13 Calls to Action have been completed. It is important that Canadians honour the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by learning from and acting on all of these recommendations.
Halifax Public Libraries' delivery on Truth and Reconciliation
We encourage everyone to engage with this important document, the history it records, and to reflect on the responsibility we each have to advance the cause of reconciliation.
Ongoing Calls to Action Sharing
These slides are playing on Library digital TV screens throughout 2022.
- Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future
- Mi'kmaw History and Culture Page
- Reading List: Truth and Reconciliation - Residential Schools in Canada
- 94 Calls to Action
- National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, opens a new window (NCTR)
- NCTR: Residential School History, opens a new window
- NCTR: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, opens a new window
- Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC, opens a new window
- Mi'kmawey Debert Cultural Centre: Indian Residential School Legacy Project, opens a new window
- Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society, opens a new window
- Beyond 94: Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, opens a new window (CBC Interactive Reporting Site)
- OrangeShirtDay.org, opens a new window