The Current

Truth and Reconciliation: Not an aboriginal problem, a Canadian one

There's a consensus the history of Residential schools needs to be understood, explored and absorbed by everyone, not just by people of aboriginal descent. On the day the Truth and Reconciliation Commission releases its recommendations, we're asking about efforts to reconcile that truth among all Canadians.
After 6 yrs, $60 million, 6000 testimonies from Residential school survivors, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission releases its report today... How should the Canadian public participate in reconciliation? (Library and Archives Canada/Reuters)
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My belief and hope is that Canadians are starting to get it. I'm hopeful that through these events that people are starting to open their eyes. That really the relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples has to change. Because there has been a lot of suffering.- Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde 

That's just one of the many hopes Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde has for the report being released today by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Truth & Reconciliation Commission: Stories, photos, videos, analysis

The report was 6 years, $60-million-dollars. and more than 6000 personal stories from former residential school students in the making. It is the result of the largest class action in Canadian history  and many people are hoping that by opening up a national dialogue about the wounds inflicted by residential schools ... it will also make history.

What is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission?

Today, we're asking how a report of this nature can be a starting point, not an end point. And how to ensure that Canadians from various backgrounds and walks of life can learn from, and engage with its findings.

  • Joseph Boyden is the author of several books, including "The Orenda" and "Through Black Spruce" ... for which he won the Giller Prize. He also helped create a ballet called "Going Home Star - Truth and Reconciliation", with The Royal Winnipeg Ballet. We reached him in Ottawa.
  • Chief Robert Joseph is a Hereditary Chief of the Gwawaenuk First Nations. He is a founder of Reconciliation Canada, an independent organization based in Vancouver created to foster public dialogue between aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities. He is also a former residential school student. He was in our Ottawa studio.
  • Esther Leung-Kong is the Executive Officer of a non-profit organization in Vancouver called the Culture Regeneration Research Society. She's been trying to raise awareness among Chinese-Canadians about the history of residential schools. 


Tomorrow on The Current, we speak with the man who chaired the Commission and wrote the report, Justice Murray Sinclair ... about the recommendations he's making for Canadians.

Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, chair for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. (Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press)

How engaged are you with the Commission, and the report that's coming out today?

You can tweet us @thecurrentcbc, email us through our website at cbc.ca/thecurrent or find us on Facebook. 

This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino, Josh Bloch and Leif Zapf-Gilje.