Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission

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The Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission is a truth and reconciliation commission organized by the parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.[1] The commission is part of an overall holistic and comprehensive response to the Indian residential school legacy. It was officially established on June 2, 2008.

After their closing, Indian residential schools became notorious for allegations of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse and neglect. The commission will look at activities perpetrated within residential schools, as well as the negative impacts of the schools' stated aim, to forcibly assimilate First Nations children. The matter of student deaths at these institutions, and their burial in unmarked graves without the notification or consent of the parents, is an additional item on the agenda.

In March 2008, Indigenous leaders and church officials embarked on a multi-city "Remembering the Children" tour to promote the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.[2] On January 21–22, 2009, the King's University College of Edmonton, Alberta had an Interdisciplinary Studies Conference on the subject of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee.

On June 11, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized for the government's role in their administration of the residential schools.

Justice Harry S. Laforme of the Ontario Court of Appeal was named to chair the commission. However, on October 20, 2008, he resigned citing insubordination by the other commissioners, Claudette Dumont-Smith and Jane Brewin Morley .[3] Although Dumont-Smith and Morley denied the charge and initially tried to stay on, they both resigned in January 2009.

In June 2009, Judge Murray Sinclair, a judge in Manitoba who became the province's first aboriginal associate chief justice in 1988, was appointed to chair the panel. The other members of the commission are Marie Wilson, a senior executive with the N.W.T. workers compensation commission, and Wilton Littlechild, former Conservative MP and Alberta regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations.[4]

The TRC has held a series of national events in Winnipeg, Inuvik, Halifax, Saskatoon, Montreal and most recently Vancouver. In 2014, it reported that at least 4,000 aboriginal children died in residential schools.[5]

The TRC's mandate will end in 2014 with a final event in Ottawa.


  1. ^ Residential School Settlement[dead link]
  2. ^ "Indian, church leaders launch multi-city tour to highlight commission". 2008-03-02. Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  3. ^ Judge at head of residential school investigation resigns, CBC News, 2008-10-18, retrieved 2008-10-20 
  4. ^ New commissioners for native reconciliation, CBC News, 2009-06-10, retrieved 2009-06-16 
  5. ^ Kennedy, Mark (3 Jan 2014). "At least 4,000 aboriginal children died in residential schools, commission finds". Retrieved 9 January 2014. 

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