Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) starts its tour of the north today, arriving in the community of Inukjuak, in northern Quebec, to gather testimony from former students and others involved in the effort to come to terms with the lasting effects of the residential schools system that wrenched aboriginal children from their families between the 1870s and the 1990s.
“The northern hearings are an opportunity for Residential School survivors, who might not otherwise be able to come to us, to speak up, be heard and inform the Commission and Canadians of the unique experiences of children who attended Residential Schools in Canada’s North,” said TRC Chair Justice Murray Sinclair in a March 14 statement.
It marks the start of a three-month tour of 19 northern communities that’s known as the Northern Hearings. The proceedings will culminate with the TRC’s second National Event, which will be held in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, from June 28 through July 1.
Earlier this month the TRC held an international forum to learn how to construct a National Research Centre in which to house information about the school era. Panelists ranged from experts in recovering from the Rwandan genocide, to anti-Apartheid reconciliation experts, to chroniclers of the disappeared in Latin American countries.