ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS: Premier responds to Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report

The final report of the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission was released on Tuesday, December 15, and Premier Stephen McNeil said Nova Scotia will answer its call to action.

"The suffering caused as a result of the residential school system in Canada is felt across generations and throughout our country," said Premier McNeil, who is also Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.

"Acknowledging what took place is an essential first step in beginning to right these horrific wrongs. Nova Scotia is committed to continuing to work hand-in-hand with our Aboriginal partners as well as our federal, provincial and territorial colleagues to answer the call to action from the commission."

The commission was established in 2009 to learn the truth about what happened in Canada's residential schools, inform all Canadians and identify actions. The commission recommended that curriculum on residential schools, treaties, and Aboriginal history be developed and made mandatory.

There are opportunities for progress to be made in Nova Scotia. Work already started includes:

  • development of an online treaty education resource for all educators in Nova Scotia
  • integration of aspects of treaty education, including Mi'kmaw language and culture, into the newly streamlined grades primary to three curriculum with more integration to come as the streamlining process continues
  • distribution of 300 education kits entitled 100 Years of Loss: The Residential School System in Canada to all high schools in the province
  • signing of a memorandum of understanding on treaty education

The province will review the comprehensive report and continue to work with Mi'kmaq leaders to understand local priorities.

To read the full report, visit http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=890 .

Additional note from NSBS: See the Society’s new online Resource Portal: Developing an equity strategy in your legal workplace. It features a number of cultural competence resources that aim to address the TRC’s Call to Action #27, which calls upon the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and all provincial law societies to ensure that lawyers receive appropriate cultural competency training.