According to a statement from the National Organization for Truth and Reconciliation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments that the federal government has delivered all records on residential schools to the centre are “not correct.”
On Monday, during a visit to Tk’emlps te Secwepemc, Trudeau told a news conference that his government has handed over all documents related to residential schools, including the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, to the Winnipeg-based centre, which aims to document the history of residential schools and preserve the stories of survivors.
“All the records in possession of the federal government have already been turned over to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in Winnipeg,” Trudeau said Monday in response to a journalist’s question.
“We will continue to look to make sure that there are no others that we have remaining to turn over, but we have, in our understanding, turned over all of those records.”
Trudeau said full or partial attendance records for the Kamloops Indian Residential School dating back to the 1800s were among the documents sent to the centre. Earlier this year, 215 unmarked burial sites were discovered at the former school site.
“All of those are being held by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation as the central repository for all those records.”
In a statement issued Tuesday, the centre said Trudeau’s statement “is not accurate.”
“At present, we are still waiting for Canada to provide the final versions of school narratives and supporting documents used in the Independent Assessment Process to the NCTR. The NCTR has various school narratives on its website, but some are out of date. For other schools, no narrative has ever been provided to the NCTR.
“Additionally missing are various Library and Archives Canada quality records and records from provincial governments, most of whom have not yet produced vital statistics, including death certificates for children lost at schools or coroners’ reports.”
Residential school survivors and their families have been waiting for these records to be released since 2015 when negotiations were sparked by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“At present, we are also still unable to access Indian Hospital records, federal health records, and day school records,” the centre said. “All of these records are crucial, not only to support missing children research, but to fully and truthfully document the residential school system, the children who died in the schools, and the ongoing legacy.”
The statement went on to say the full disclosure of documents should be viewed as a chance for the government to “build partnership” and show a commitment to reconciliation.
“If the prime minister is telling all Canadians and Indigenous peoples that the NCTR holds all records, it is time for that to be true.”
A request for response was sent to the federal Crown-Indigenous Relations department by the Prime Minister’s Office, which has yet to answer.
Trudeau paid a visit to the Tk’emlps te Secwepemc in Kamloops on Monday, after declining an invitation to its healing ceremonies on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30 in order to spend time with his family in Tofino, British Columbia.
He repeatedly apologized for the error and promised that Ottawa is truly “willing to partner” in the reconciliation process.
Source_ the Canadian press