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Carved by Coast Salish artist Luke Marston, the TRC Bentwood Box is a lasting tribute to all Indian Residential School Survivors. The box travelled with the TRC to all of its official events. // Photo by Adam Dolman

Carved by Coast Salish artist Luke Marston, the TRC Bentwood Box is a lasting tribute to all Indian Residential School Survivors. The box travelled with the TRC to all of its official events. // Photo: Adam Dolman

Online petition urges election debate on Aboriginal reconciliation

July 20, 2015 — 

More than 1,200 people are backing an effort by four University of Manitoba professors to make sure the recommendations of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission remain an issue in this fall’s federal election.

Do you think Indigenous restitution should be a federal election issue?

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An online petition by Adam Muller, Adele Perry, Niigaan Sinclair and Andrew Woolford has collected signatures from every Canadian province and territory and even some from countries around the globe.

“This is a crucial moment in Canadian history, one with the potential to transform the relationship between Canada’s Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples,” the professors wrote a week after the commission released a summary of its final report on residential schools. “We … call upon the country’s political parties to consider incorporating the TRC’s recommendations into their respective platforms.”

The four professors – and many academic colleagues who signed the petition – pointed to the “enormous amount of careful research and painful testimony that informs the TRC’s conclusions.” They said the report is not simply an important historical record of government attempts to eradicate Aboriginal languages and cultures but also a guide for how to address contemporary challenges, including treaty implementation and socio-economic inequality.

Sociology professor Woolford, who is president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, said the petition is ready to send to political parties. The federal Liberals and NDP have already promised to implement the commission’s recommendations but the governing Conservatives have not yet responded.

Further reading

More stories on the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba

What does reconciliation mean? An editorial from the director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

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