TRC to visit eight Nunavut, Nunavik communities
Res-school hearings start March 15 in Inukjuak
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada announced Jan. 12 that it will hold northern hearings in 19 communities across the north – eight of them in Nunavut and Nunavik — starting March 2011, to ask people to talk about their experiences at aboriginal residential schools.
The northern hearings begin in Inukjuak, March 15.
“The northern hearings are intended as an opportunity for [northern] residential school survivors to able to speak up, to be heard and to have their statements recorded,” said TRC Chair Justice Murray Sinclair in a Jan. 12 press conference.
The northern tour will host a full day of “truth sharing and private statement gathering” in the following Nunavut and Nunavik communities:
• Inukjuak March 15;
• Kuujjuaq, March 17;
• Rankin Inlet, March 22;
• Chesterfield Inlet, March 23, plus March 24 morning site tour;
• Igloolik, March 25;
• Iqaluit, March 28;
• Cambridge Bay, April 12;
• Kugluktuk, April 13.
The remainder of the hearings will be hosted in communities across the Northwest Territories and Yukon until late May 2011.
The commission says the hearings will provide survivors with time to reflect and share their experiences in a lead up to the TRC’s second national event to be held in Inuvik, NWT between June 28 and July 1, 2011.
But the hearings won’t be the only time the TRC will be available to northern survivors, Sinclair said: staff can be made available to come to individual communities on request.
And survivors are permitted to request their statement be made in private, Sinclair added.
“The tour communities were chosen on a basis of regional representation, where there’s been a high concentration of survivors of survivors and claims but also communities that have a historic significance in relation to residential schools,” he said.
“We believe it’s important to come away with a better understanding… this (tour) will lay the groundwork that will allow us to move on toward reconciliation.”
The TRC’s Inuit sub-commission, co-chaired by Robbie Watt and Jennifer Hunt-Poitras, played a large role in planning the northern tour and will be represented in each community along the way.
The federal government formed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2008 as part of the court-approved Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
The commission’s mandate is to create a historical account of the residential school legacy and encourage healing among the aboriginal students who claimed they suffered abuse.