Liz Hanson reflects on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's final report

The release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report is a landmark moment in the history of Aboriginal Canadians. I sincerely hope that all Yukoners, just like all Canadians, will be able to learn from the commission’s work – and ensure that our governments take concrete and meaningful action to implement its 94 recommendations.

It is, as it has always been, up to us as citizens to recognize that residential schools, and the broader political objective of “assimilation”, tried to erase First Nations cultures from Canadian communities. The consequences of Canada’s deliberate attempt to destroy First Nations cultures is still a significant factor in modern relationships. As non-Aboriginal Canadians, we must all acknowledge this fact so that we can participate in the meaningful, long-term healing that First Nations, Inuit and Métis deserve.

The commission’s recommendations are now in the hands of our political leaders – and we are being called to act. In today’s Canada, our relationship with First Nation governments is broken. Deliberate government attempts to undermine First Nations rights are eroding opportunities for nation-to-nation relationships. In Yukon, our groundbreaking work on modern treaties is a strong foundation that must be protected and built upon.

We can, and must, do better if we want to build a mutually respectful and beneficial relationship between our communities.

 

Photo: Library and Archives Canada / flickr. Used under a Creative Commons BY 2.0 licence.