Six new members have been appointed to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) Survivors Circle to advise the Centre’s work to ensure Residential Schools and their legacy are never forgotten. They follow on the work of the previous group of seven Residential School Survivors who dedicated the last two years to ensure that Survivors’ voices and perspectives remain central to NCTR programs and policies.
“We want to acknowledge the 2017-2019 Survivors Circle’s passion and commitment to the work at the Centre. Their knowledge and guidance helped build the NCTR and we will continue to rely on them as we move forward,” says Christine Lenze, acting governance secretary at NCTR.
The new Survivors Circle members are:
- Lila Bruyere, Dancing Eagle Woman, is Ojibway from Counchiching First Nation located on Treaty 3 Territory and a Residential School Survivor from St. Margaret Residential School. Bruyere has worked in the field of addictions for 15 years. She received certifications in addictions, earned her Bachelor of Honours of Social Work (HBSW) from Carleton University, and completed her masters in Social Work – Indigenous Field of Study at Wilfred Laurier University. She is a mother to three boys, a grandmother to seven, and a great-grandmother to two.
- Wandbdi Wakita, Dakota Spiritual Leader and Sundance Chief, has devoted three decades to working with men in prison, is a gifted counselor, captivating storyteller and presenter. He is currently the Access Program Unkan (Grandfather or Elder)-in-Residence, at the University of Manitoba.
- Phyllis Googoo is a member of the Waycobah First Nation. She is a mother of three children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. As a Mi’kmaw speaker and lifelong advocate of the Mi’kmaw language, Phyllis raised her children to be fluent in Mi’kmaq. In 2008, she received the Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. Elder Achievement Award recognizing her lifelong contribution to the Mi’kmaw community.
- Sarah Peryouar, from Nunavut, is passionate about teaching and worked as an educator in Baker Lake for most of her life after attaining her Teachers Certificate in 1993 from McGill University and Nunavut Arctic College. She believes in keeping the Inuktitut language and culture alive.
- Jimmy Durocher is a Métis leader from Ile-A-La-Crosse, Sask. He is a board member of Gabriel Dumont Institute and a former President of the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan.
- Ted Quewezance is Senate Chair of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations of Saskatchewan, a past Chief of Keeseekoose First Nation, Saskatchewan. In recognition of his four decades of work on Residential Schools, he was appointed by the Assembly of First Nations to ensure headway is made on the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action on health, and is a representative on the AFN Indigenous Health Alliance.
“These Survivors, and their experiences, are at the core of everything we do at the NCTR,” says Ry Moran, director of the NCTR. “They provide guidance and advice to the NCTR, the Governing Circle, the University of Manitoba, and partners on anything important to the broader Survivor community.”
Survivor Circle members spend two years at the NCTR, and are an integral part of the NCTR’s the work of Truth and Reconciliation across Canada.
“I took the initiative to work on my own healing process for at least thirty years,” Bruyere says. “I have worked hard to get where I am at and very proud to be chosen to sit on the NCTR Survivors Circle. My reason for wanting to sit on the circle is to learn from the other Survivors and be a voice for Survivors from my Ontario region, especially for those who are still in pain; I want to help support change for all Survivors. I am excited, however, I understand the huge responsibility of this position and take it very seriously.”
This Survivor Circle will be with the Centre for the 2019-2021 term.