THUNDER BAY – Aboriginal News – “Without the release of the historical records at Federal Archives there is no way the TRC can carry out their mandate,” said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. “The Government of Canada’s refusal to produce millions of records in Federal Archives is making it impossible for the Commission to produce a final report that is accurate, clear and fair to the experience of residential school survivors. We want to know: What exactly is the federal government hiding from the survivors?”
Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler is appalled that the federal government’s refusal to release millions of historical Indian Residential School documents currently held by 23 federal departments is making it impossible for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to do its job.
The spirit of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement to create this Commission is to bring about healing and reconciliation. By withholding these documents, the survivors and their families do not have the confidence that the Government of Canada is committed to reconciliation.
The records are key to the successful conclusion of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s search for historical accountability and lasting reconciliation. Federal officials have been resisting the release of the historical records for years, and now it is clear that there are as many as four million records that are being withheld in Federal Archives.
“We are fighting to get these records released on behalf of over 4000 former students from Nishnawbe Aski Nation and their families,” said Deputy Grand Chief Fiddler.
Canada has produced 1 million Indian Residential School records, and intend on producing another 270,000. Canada estimates that there are 2.5 million records (“closer to 5 million”) currently held by the government, including the federal archives.