NAN Grand Chief Yesno – “This is about justice”

Nishnawbe-Aski Grand Chief Harvey Yesno
Fort Hope Chief Harvey Yesno
Nishnawbe-Aski Grand Chief Harvey Yesno
Nishnawbe-Aski Grand Chief Harvey Yesno

THUNDER BAY – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Harvey Yesno joined with First Nation leaders and survivors from across Canada for the release today of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) final report that calls on Canada to confront the ‘cultural genocide’ of the Indian Residential School system and move from ‘apology to action’ for reconciliation with Aboriginal Peoples.

“While we welcome this milestone in this dark chapter of our shared history it is regrettable that so many of our people who attended residential schools did not survive to hear the Prime Minister’s historic apology in 2008 and never had the chance to share their stories and receive the counselling and compensation they were entitled to,” said NAN Grand Chief Harvey Yesno, a survivor of two residential schools. “This is about justice. We can no longer allow the perpetrators of these acts to determine the penalty and reparations, and we can no longer allow the present day representatives of the Crown to be the trustees of the thief’s estate.”

The final report presented by TRC chair Justice Murray Sinclair builds on key recommendations of the 2012 interim report including nationwide education, healing and cultural revival programs and funding for health and wellness centres and culturally appropriate treatment systems. This includes new and revised legislation for education, child welfare and aboriginal language that will protect children, strengthen families, restore traditional languages and allow First Nations to reconnect with their culture and traditional ways of life.

“The consequences of one generation must be redressed for the next generation, and we look to all Canadians to respond today by reaffirming a sincere commitment to reconciliation with First Nations and address the multi-generational impacts of the Indian Residential School system,” said Grand Chief Yesno, who is attending closing events in Ottawa this week. “The experience and integrity of the Commissioners has culminated with many excellent recommendations to repair the relationship between Aboriginal people and the rest of Canada and I thank them for their exemplary work during this difficult process. We now look to the federal government to move from apology to action.”

Approximately 5,000 NAN members attended Indian Residential Schools. NAN continues to advocate for programs to help individuals and communities and launched the NAN Residential School Curriculum in 2013 to educate youth on the history and impacts of the Residential School system.

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