(Ottawa, ON) – To mark the third anniversary of the release of 94 Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde is calling for action and results from governments and Canadians.
“We all have a role in reconciliation – governments, institutions, First Nations and every Canadian,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “We need to see urgent and sustained action by all levels of government to work with First Nations to give life to the TRC’s Calls to Acton. Canadians need to know that their actions, big and small, will help drive change. Learn more about our shared history and read the Calls to Action. Then find a way to contribute to reconciliation and help close the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and Canada.”
On June 2, 2015 the TRC released 94 Calls to Action on priorities aimed at reconciliation, including child welfare, justice, education and health. The full report was released December 15, 2015. The findings followed six years of testimony from more than 7,000 former residential school students across Canada, and experts and others connected to the residential schools.
To help commemorate the third anniversary of the TRC Calls to Action, and to raise awareness of National Indigenous History month, the AFN is encouraging Canadians to educate themselves and to take concrete action in support of reconciliation. Acts of reconciliation can include writing Senators to support Bill C-262 (a bill to enact the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples). The first principle in the TRC’s Calls to Action states that the UN Declaration is “the framework for reconciliation at all levels and across all sectors of Canadian society”.
Canadians can take other actions to help advance understanding, awareness and reconciliation, such as participating in the KAIROS Blanket Exercise (available online and iTunes via the AFN Education Toolkit), visiting an Indigenous Friendship Centre, taking part in ceremonies or listening to Elders and Wisdom Keepers, attending National Indigenous Peoples Day events (marked on June 21, with events continuing through the weekend in many places) and reading books, essays and publications or viewing films or series about the shared history of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.
The AFN is currently working with Indigenous Watchdog to analyze the federal government’s progress on implementing the 94 Calls to Action, and continues to encourage direct engagement with First Nations to fulfil this work. The advocacy and policy work of the AFN is closely aligned with the Calls to Action, including efforts and progress in the areas of First Nations education, languages, child welfare and health.
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.