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A Message from Stephanie Scott, Executive Director for the NCTR


June is an important month for Indigenous Peoples as we celebrate both National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day. And we have much to celebrate – our peoples have rich and powerful cultures, languages and traditions. Many of us continue to learn and put into practice our traditional ways of life as taught by the Elders and Knowledge Keepers. We are grateful to them for sharing their wisdom with our younger generations.

Sadly, this is also a time where we see increased ugliness from those who deny our truths, experiences and oral histories as reality. Deniers will write their fringe blogs and substacks and leave their foul comments on social media challenging the documented experiences of Indigenous Peoples, particularly residential school Survivors.

They’ll say: “It didn’t happen,” “It wasn’t that bad,” “Some good came out of residential schools,” or the most repugnant, “Children never died in those institutions.” At the NCTR, we see these baseless claims firsthand and this needs to stop. These attempts to erase history must be countered with education and truth.

The NCTR was born of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission—established to foster truth, healing and reconciliation. We continue this work. We have collected millions of records that verify the atrocities of the residential school system, including thousands of recorded statements bravely provided by Survivors. These statements document their experiences in those institutions and describe the neglect and physical, sexual and emotional abuse that was forced upon them.

We also created the Student Memorial Register to remember and honour the children who never came home. The Register includes more than four thousand named and unnamed children identified through records in the NCTR’s care and from the testimonies of families.

I challenge those who ask, “Where’s the proof?” to consult the Register and our archives at any time. Accept the facts as provided by the Survivors who went through it, and from their families and communities who still feel the impacts today. Respect their truths. Call out the deniers who have contributed nothing to reconciliation in this country.

And to those who show up, support our work, and help amplify the voices of Survivors, I thank you. Survivors thank you.

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“Ka-kí-kiskéyihtétan óma, namoya kinwés maka aciyowés pohko óma óta ka-hayayak wasétam askihk, ékwa ka-kakwéy miskétan kiskéyihtamowin, iyinísiwin, kistéyitowin, mina nánisitotatowin kakiya ayisiniwak, ékosi óma kakiya ka-wahkotowak.”

Cree Proverb