Ottawa, Ontario — Crown−Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
Today, Stephanie Scott, Executive Director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR); and the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown−Indigenous Relations, announced the appointment of Chief Cadmus Delorme of Cowessess First Nation as the chairperson of the new Residential School Documents Advisory Committee.
On December 10, 2021, Minister Miller issued a directive to the department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) to establish a committee that would develop recommendations on the identification and sharing of documents of historical interest with the NCTR. The Residential School Documents Advisory Committee is the result of this direction.
The Residential School Documents Advisory Committee will be composed of Survivors, First Nations, Inuit and Métis community members, and federal and expert representatives. As the independent chairperson of the Residential School Documents Advisory Committee, Chief Delorme has a mandate to promote consensus-based decision-making and ensure Indigenous voices are reflected in all discussions and decisions regarding the identification, review and sharing of residential school-related documents.
CIRNAC is currently identifying the number and nature of any documents that may not have been shared previously. To date, Canada has provided more than 1.5 million additional documents and higher-quality images to the NCTR, 12 previously unshared or updated school narratives and the full document collection from the Sisters of St. Ann. This exercise expands on ongoing reviews by other government departments and is expected to conclude in spring 2023.
The results of this exercise will support the work of the committee as they develop and propose a consistent approach to the identification, review and sharing of documents related to residential schools listed under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) and not included in the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In developing this standard approach, the committee will provide recommendations to the Government of Canada on removing barriers to sharing documents, while respecting Survivors’ wishes, legislation, court orders, settlement agreements and ongoing litigation processes.
This collaboration is an important step towards a renewed relationship with Indigenous Peoples, increased accountability and addressing the ongoing impacts of residential schools.
“There were over 130 sponsored residential schools in this country. Today many local communities, ad hoc committees and First Nations are leading the way in the validation of unmarked graves attached to former residential schools. This advisory committee’s goal will help by empowering the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to house records many are seeking to help in their healing journey.”
Chief Cadmus Delorme, Cowessess First Nation
Chairperson, Residential School Documents Advisory Committee
“In 2021, Cowessess First Nation played a central role in bringing global attention to the unmarked graves at former residential school sites and the thousands of missing children who never made it home. We welcome Chief Delorme’s leadership in this new role. I am confident Indigenous communities, Survivors and their families, and respect for Indigenous law will be central to the work of this new committee as it strives to preserve the true history of residential schools.”
Executive Director, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
“There can be no reconciliation without first uncovering the truth, and sharing relevant documents will help us do this in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Survivors, families and communities. Chief Delorme’s extensive leadership and management experience will be a tremendous asset to the committee’s mandate of developing a federal approach to identify and manage the sharing of residential school-related documents with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. These efforts will support Indigenous Peoples in their search for answers and healing, which they deserve.”
The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations
- Chief Cadmus Delorme of Cowessess First Nation will be appointed as chairperson of the Residential School Documents Advisory Committee for a five-year term. The appointment of Chief Delorme is being made following consultation with National Indigenous Organizations and at the recommendation of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR).
- In 2015, over four million documents were disclosed by Canada to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Under the terms of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (Schedule N, Mandate for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission), all parties agreed to collect historical documents relating to residential schools. These documents are housed at the NCTR as per Schedule N’s mandate that “The record shall be preserved and made accessible to the public for future study and use.”
- The current project has a broader mandate and focuses on identifying and sharing all possible documents not already shared, including documents not included in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s mandate related to residential schools, such as information concerning the disposition of lands following the closure of a residential school, documents related to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and more.
- All residential school-related documents, including those pertaining to Inuit and Métis children, are within the scope of this project.
- Committee membership is currently being finalized, and they are expected to be fully operational by May 2023. Potential representatives from Indigenous communities across Canada have been identified through consultations with the NCTR and Indigenous organizations.
- Minister Miller promises new measures for federal government document disclosure related to residential schools – Canada.ca
- Directive to preserve all information related to historical harms committed against Indigenous children (rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca)
- Canada shares Residential School documents with National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation – Canada.ca
- Government of Canada supports Indigenous communities across the country to address the ongoing legacy of residential schools – Canada.ca
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For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations
CIRNAC Media Relations:
Strategist, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
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