Toronto will get a chance to learn more about the legacy of the Indian residential school system and take part in a dialogue to promote healing and reconciliation this May 31 to June 2.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), along with groups like the Toronto Council Fire First Native Cultural Centre, is hosting The Meeting Place-Truth and Reconciliation Conference at the Sheraton Centre Hotel, on Queen St. West.
The conference will gather residential school survivors, elders, Ontario chiefs, TRC commissioners, church representatives, government officials and academics.
Toronto-area survivors will have a chance to share their school experiences at public statement gatherings throughout the conference. From the late 19th century to the mid-20th century, about 150,000 aboriginal children were removed from their homes and placed in residential schools as part of a federal program of forced assimilation. The Anglican Church of Canada operated 35 of these schools, including St. Michael’s residential school in Alert Bay, B.C. The Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United churches also operated residential schools. The TRC was created as part of the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
The event will feature a parallel youth conference and workshops that address “issues inherent to reconciliation and the building of right relations across diverse communities,” said the TRC in a statement. Workshops include topics like TRC and land rights, human rights for aboriginal peoples in Ontario, missing and murdered women, addictions and mental health resulting from residential schools, reconciliation through indigenous medicine and healing, churches and aboriginal relations and new immigrants, multiculturalism and reconciliation.
The other organizers of the conference include the United Church of Canada and the Centre for Aboriginal Initiatives at the University of Toronto.
For more information, including how to register, visit the Council Fire website.