Press Release

NWAC stands in solidarity with Truth and Reconciliation Commission upon the release of their final report on tragic Indian residential school legacy in Canada

(December 15, 2015) (Ottawa, ON) ― The Native Women’s Association of Canada seeks to extend gratitude and solidarity to our brave friends at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). Marking the end of their six-year mandate, today the TRC released their final report on the deplorable Indian residential school system and its legacy in Canada.

Both NWAC President Dr. Dawn Lavell-Harvard and NWAC Executive Director Claudette Dumont Smith were be present for the final report release in Ottawa.

“I am honoured to be here today,” says Dr. Lavell-Harvard. “The cultural genocide against our people is finally over, but only now can Indigenous peoples begin to heal. Now that all Canadians finally know truth about our dark past, we can begin to heal together.”

NWAC is grateful to the TRC for underscoring the urgent need for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women in their final report. Among their 94 recommendations to the Government of Canada, the TRC indicates the following:

  1. We call upon the federal government, in consultation with Aboriginal organizations, to appoint a public inquiry into the causes of, and remedies for, the disproportionate victimization of Aboriginal women and girls. The inquiry’s mandate would include: i. Investigation into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. ii. Links to the inter-generational legacy of residential schools.

NWAC recognizes that there will be no quick fix to reaching reconciliation. However, despite the fact that seven generations of innocent Indigenous peoples were put through the Indian Residential School program, and despite the fact that the inter-generational pain will continue to be experienced, now that we know the truth, we can finally begin to heal together.

In the words of our dear friend Justice Murray Sinclair of the TRC: “Reconciliation turns on this concept: I want to be your friend and I want you to be mine, and if we are friends, then I’ll have your back when you need it and you’ll have mine.”

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.

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