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For immediate release
September 1, 2020
Treaty Five Territory, Thompson, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. is issuing a statement in response to the announcement that the federal government will now recognize the residential school system as an event of national significance and will designate two former residential schools, including the Portage la Prairie Indian Residential School in Manitoba, as national historic sites.
Grand Chief Garrison Settee shared the following:
“Residential schools are a painful legacy for Indigenous peoples in Canada. While MKO welcomes the announcements that residential schools will be recognized as an event of historical significance, we also acknowledge the pain these schools have caused for so many MKO citizens. I know former students who cannot stand to be near a residential school because of the terrible things that happened to them when they attended the school.
This historical announcement should help encourage newcomers and Canadian citizens of all ages and backgrounds to learn about and remember both those who survived residential schools and those who perished as a result of attending those schools. The residential school system is a dark part of Canada’s history and it’s one that must not be forgotten. We must learn from past mistakes to ensure they are never again made in the future.
We still have a lot of work to do to heal from the inter-generational effects of the residential school system. We are pleased that the Government of Canada is committed to carrying out the 94 Calls to Action developed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. We are strong, resilient people and we will continue to heal and build a brighter future for the generations of First Nations children to come.”
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) is a non-profit, political advocacy organization that has represented 26 First Nation communities in Manitoba’s North since 1981. The MKO represents more than 72,000 First Nations people.