Commemoration is a component of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement that supports regional and national activities that honour, educate, remember and/or pay tribute to former Indian Residential School (IRS) students, their families and their communities.
Commemoration activities will build upon the existing strong foundation of reconciliation efforts by the Government of Canada, such as the historic Apology by the Prime Minister in 2008; the permanent installation of stained glass artwork in Centre Block on Parliament Hill; and the gestures of reconciliation offered by the Government of Canada at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s three national events.
Commemoration is jointly managed by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The TRC’s role is to receive and review proposals to ensure they meet the program objectives, as set out in Schedule J of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and make recommendations to AANDC for funding. AANDC’s role is to approve and fund the projects recommended by the TRC as set out in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and following Treasury Board guidelines.
Twenty million dollars has been identified for funding for Commemoration. All funds have been allocated to 145 projects. The distribution of funding was based on the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The main objectives of Commemoration are to:
- Assist in honoring and validating the healing and reconciliation of former students and their families through Commemoration initiatives that address their residential school experience;
- Provide support towards efforts to improve and enhance Aboriginal relationships and between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people;
- Provide an opportunity for former students and their families to support one another and to recognize/celebrate their strengths, courage, resiliency and achievements;
- Contribute to a sense of identity, unity and belonging;
- Promote Aboriginal languages, cultures, and traditional and spiritual values;
- Ensure that the legacy of residential schools and former students and their families' experiences and needs are affirmed; and,
- Memorialize in a tangible and permanent way the residential school experience
As outlined in the IRSSA, the Government of Canada funded activities that recognized individual and family resiliency and achievements, as well as promoted Aboriginal languages, cultures, traditional values and spiritual values. All former students, their families, communities and groups, were eligible to submit a proposal for a regional or national Commemoration project.
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