You can read a PDF version of this letter here.
July 16, 2021
Mr. Wab Kinew
Leader of the Opposition
Room 172 Legislative Building
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0V8
Re: Thank you for honouring people impacted by the genocidal legacy of residential schools
Dear Mr. Kinew,
In follow-up to our phone call yesterday, I am writing to you today to extend appreciation on behalf of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. for standing up and sharing the truth about the purpose of residential schools in Canada.
It was distressing and disturbing for people right across Canada to hear the comments from Alan Lagimodiere, Manitoba’s new Minister for Reconciliation and Northern Relations, about the intention behind residential schools. As you know, First Nations people are having a challenging time as our communities continue to uncover unmarked graves at the former sites of residential schools. Your courage and strength in standing up to misinformation about residential schools was empowering and inspiring to witness.
My office has received thousands of supportive messages from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people across the globe as we grapple with the uncovering of our children who were placed in unmarked graves. I know we have the support of a majority of Manitoba citizens in working together to heal from the harm done by residential schools. The messages shared by Premier Brian Pallister and Alan Lagimodiere are damaging and in fact, their harmful and uninformed comments move us backwards on our shared road to reconciliation.
Your leadership gives me hope that we can acknowledge the truth and continue to move forward on our path to reconciliation. You stood strong yesterday and set an excellent example of how we all need to speak up in in the face of ignorance. Thank you for your courage and for honouring the children who attended residential schools in your role as an honorary witness to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Grand Chief Garrison Settee
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.
cc: MKO First Nations