– Nelson Mandela
“Reconciliation is about ensuring that everything we do today is aimed at that high standard of restoring balance in the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.”
– Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair, Truth and Reconciliation Commission
of Canada (TRC)
“To reconcile is to weave a stronger and more vibrant social fabric, based on the unique and diverse strengths of Canadians and their communities.”
— Chief Robert Joseph, Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada, TRC Honorary Witness, and Residential School Survivor
For Reconciliation to flourish in Canada, it must be rooted in truth and justice. One truth is that Residential School Survivors, their families, and communities, still struggle to overcome the intergenerational legacies left in the wake of these schools – poverty, poor health, low education and employment rates, a high prison population, and more. Another truth is that despite these destructive impacts, Indigenous nations across the country are reclaiming and revitalizing their histories, cultures and languages, laws and governance systems. Yet another truth is that the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians is damaged. Treaties have been broken, children have been taken, and traditional lands have been lost. Reconciling these truths to create a more just, respectful and inclusive Canada is at the heart of Reconciliation.
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) was established because for many years, Survivors have had a vision. They want to create a place of learning and dialogue where the truths of their residential school experiences are honoured and kept safe for future generations. They want their families, communities and all of Canada to learn from these hard lessons of the past so they will not be repeated. They want to share the wisdom of the Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers who have so much to teach their own young people and all Canadians about how to create just and peaceful relationships amongst diverse peoples. They know that Reconciliation is not only about the past; it is about the future that Canadians will forge together on these lands we now share. This vision is the Survivors’ legacy gift to all of Canada.
One of the many ways that the NCTR will honour and uphold this legacy gift is by being an active facilitator of Reconciliation. Working with our Survivors Circle and partners across the country, the NCTR will support dialogue, generate new research, and create resources for public education and community-based projects. This work will assist First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples, educators, and all Canadians to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to practice truth-sharing and Reconciliation in our everyday lives—in our families, communities, schools and workplaces.