The recent discovery of 215 children at the Kamloops residential school is extremely disturbing. The Northwest Territories Human Rights Commission members, staff and adjudication panel members send our heartfelt condolences to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation and to all survivors of residential schools.

Fifteen residential schools operated in the Northwest Territories; schools that left behind a devastating legacy of pain, distrust, and trauma. It is important we remember the trauma inflicted on young children who were taken from their families, often by force. It is important we remember the pain of the parents whose children were taken from them. It is important we remember the criminal horrors and atrocities that took place inside residential schools. It is important we remember this happened because Canadian society failed to respect peoples’ basic human rights.

We must listen to the stories of survivors and know they are authentic. We must do this so we can understand what happened and the effect it had and continues to have on all of us.

Knowing the truth of our shared history is important for reconciliation. We need understanding. We need compassion. We need empathy. We must acknowledge the harm caused to generations of our neighbours, co-workers, and family members. We must learn from the past so that we can find a way forward together.

Human rights are at the foundation of reconciliation. The Commission is working to identify and address systemic issues in institutions that continue to have a detrimental effect on Indigenous people today. We are committed to working with Indigenous governments, groups and individuals to build a better future for all residents of the Northwest Territories.

Without truth, justice, and healing, there can be no genuine reconciliation. Reconciliation…is about opening new healing pathways of reconciliation that are forged in truth and justice.

TRC Executive Summary

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