Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Text Size

Residential-school records may not arrive in time for aboriginal commission’s final report, director says


OTTAWA — The federal government, after months of delay, is hiring a firm to sort through millions of documents at Library and Archives Canada so they can be passed on to the commission probing the aboriginal residential school saga.

But concerns are already being raised from that group, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Its executive director, Kimberly Murray, said Tuesday she is worried the records will trickle in and arrive too late to be used for the commission’s report.

That multi-volume report is now being written and will be released by June 2015 but must be finished months before then so it can be translated and edited.

“They know we have to do all that,” a frustrated Murray said of the government. “They know it takes a year to do all that.”

Also, she fears the government has decided to limit the scope of material it will search in government archives, potentially overlooking some key material.

The TRC’s mandate says its work must include compiling a complete “historical record “ of the residential schools’ “system and legacy.”

But the government appears to be adopting a more narrow approach, saying it will hire a company to dig out documents pertaining to “the operation and funding of the schools.”

Former Prime Minister Paul Martin said Tuesday the Conservative government’s approach is unacceptable.

“What we’re dealing with is an incredible body of history that explains an enormous amount of the current situation in which indigenous Canadians find themselves,” said Martin.

“At a time when the nation as a whole is coming to grips with what happened in residential schools, for the government to say that they are essentially going to continue to mask the history that we are entitled to know is just wrong.

But the government says it is working with the commission so it can achieve its “important mandate.”

“Our government remains committed to achieving a fair and lasting resolution to the legacy of Indian Residential Schools,” said Erica Meekes, a spokeswoman for Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt.

“That is why the prime minister made a historic apology on behalf of all Canadians in 2008 and why we have disclosed over 4.2 million documents to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”

The new concerns are being expressed after the government posted a “request for proposal” last week seeking bids from companies that want the contract at the archives.

However, the research — expected to cost $14 million — is long overdue after a legal tussle between the TRC and the Conservative government.

The commission was established to learn the truth of the decades-long saga, such as piecing together the role played by the federal government — including former cabinet ministers and senior bureaucrats.

Between the 1870s and 1996, about 150,000 aboriginal children were pulled from their homes by the federal government and sent to the church-run schools, where many suffered physical and sexual abuse, and at least 4,000 died.

Although Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized in the Commons, his government refused to hand over all of its internal documents. That led to a court action in which a judge ruled Jan. 30, 2013 in the commission’s favour and said the government should pass over “relevant” documents.

But the delays only continued.

Eventually, the government started giving the TRC interim funds — $1.8 million and then $1.3 million — so it could hire someone to begin research in the archives.

But the government won’t choose the firm to conduct the main research for another month, and it’s expected those researchers won’t enter the archives until mid-July.

Whatever Trevor

Dis is Trevor.

Education & Training

Blast from the past: FP archive

When is Consultation, Consultation?

Ovide Mercredi

National Chief – AFN

During a Treaty Roundtable meeting of the Alberta Chiefs, I took note of a federal government document outlining their strategy to define and ultimately impose their own form of self-government. Read more...

Letting go of residential schools

by Gilbert Oskaboose, Nov 1993 First Perspective

There is a lot of "unfinished business" in Indian Country. Garbage that we as a people have never really dealt with. Chief among them is the whole issue of those infamous residential schools and their impact on people. Read more...


obidiah picture

ANALYSIS - Bill Gallagher

gallagher picture

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit


First Nations Cultural Interpreter PM – 02 Riding Mountain National Park Seasonal Indeterminate

(May to October) From $54,543 to $58,764

Closing Sept. 19, 2014

Read More

Regional Media Officer– Temp (Until Nov 2015) –F/T Position

Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition / NDP Research Office

Location:131 Queen Street, Suite 10-02, Ottawa, ON


Communicate regularly with regional media outlets (community newspapers, radio stations, student media, ethnic media, etc.) to propose ideas for interviews and opinion content Read more...

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Aboriginal Workforce Report

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce released a report that highlights initiatives to improve the workforce participation of Aboriginal peoples. 

Opportunity Found: Improving the Participation of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada’s Workforce (December 2013)  

click image to download report

Tue Sep 23 @ 3:00PM - 04:15PM
FNHMA National Conference 2014
Sun Oct 05 @ 9:00AM - 05:00PM
INIHKD & Manitoba NEAHR Conference 2014


September 2014
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 1 2 3 4

Current Video

RIP Percy Tuesday


Thanks to Althea Guiboche for allowing The First Perspective to share her video taken at the Manitowapow book launch at McNally Robinson. 

Percey sings Freddy Fender's "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" and people join in to harmonize. 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): The Washington Redskins