Montreal–Former Governor General Michaëlle Jean on April 24 urged young Canadians to take an active part in the work of healing and reconciliation between Canada’s aboriginal and non-aboriginal people.
“Every action is important…Listening, sharing your stories, being here,” Jean told hundreds of students from various schools here who took part in “Education Day,” at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada’s Quebec National Event, held at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel here. Jean who was governor general when the TRC was launched at Rideau Hall in 2009, is an honorary witness for the commission and will be on hand to listen to former students from Quebec residential schools speak about their experiences April 24 to 27.
TRC Commissioner Marie Wilson echoed Jean’s call, saying youth are part of the solution. She urged them to harness their skills in social media to inform, educate and encourage others to learn about the Indian residential schools and how they have affected generations of Canada’s aboriginal people. “You have the right to truth, you need to demand it,” said Wilson.
“The stories that we tell can affect a life in a way that we may not realize,” said Wilson, noting how some former students have spoken of elders and aunts who have helped make a difference in their lives.
Elementary and high school students participated in various activities geared towards introducing them to the history and effects of Indian residential schools in Quebec and across Canada, through various activities that include dialogue with inter-generational school survivors, displays, and films. The displays include photographs and documents related to the Indian residential schools, which were assembled by archivists from the Anglican, United, Presbyterian and Catholic churches.