The Parliamentary Centre honours and remembers the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. We acknowledge the genocide of the Indigenous community and we are committed to work towards truth, reconciliation and respect for indigenous rights in Canada and in the world.
The Truth and Reconciliation Committee, which released 94 calls to action in 2015, found that 4,100 named and unnamed students died in residential schools across Canada. Others estimate that the number is far greater. On September 30, 2021, Canada marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This is a critical step towards making this tragedy part of our national memory and thus making reconciliation and dignity a part of our nation’s future.
Our offices will be closed on September 30, 2021 to honour the memory of the children that never came home and of the Survivors, their families and their communities that continue to bear the scars.
The tragedy of Canada’s residential schools and indigenous genocide are shared experiences by indigenous peoples worldwide. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (61/295) affirms that Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and security as distinct peoples and shall not be subjected to any act of genocide or any other act of violence, including forcibly removing children of the group to another group (Art 7.2).
As part of our commitment to uphold and advance human rights, the Parliamentary Centre is dedicated to defending the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide to free, prior and informed consent regarding the decision-making processes that impact their rights at federal, provincial and territorial levels. We are conscious of the responsibility of these levels of government to ensure that their decisions, and those of third parties, do not contribute to further harms to Indigenous peoples. Our global support to national and local governments is conducted in awareness and respect of these core principles of indigenous rights.
Today, we lower our heads and rest our hands in memory of the tragedy and profound injustice suffered by Canada’s Indigenous peoples so that tomorrow we can continue to pursue the vision enshrined in the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights:
…the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples in this Declaration will enhance harmonious and cooperative relations between the State and indigenous peoples, based on principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, non-discrimination and good faith.