OTTAWA — New Democrats are calling on the federal government to recognize what happened at residential schools as genocide.
In a motion to be tabled in the House of Commons tomorrow, NDP MP Leah Gazan is asking fellow lawmakers to unanimously deem the institutions' history as the deliberate, systemic destruction of a cultural group.
Gazan says that "there is no reconciliation without truth," and that the traumatic legacy of residential schools continues to impact First Nations communities today.
At a news conference with Gazan this morning, Grand Chief Arlen Dumas of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said denying an act of genocide would “belittle the history and the reality” of survivors of schools that continued to open into the 1970s.
Gazan's demand comes in response to last month's news that ground-penetrating radar detected what are believed to be the remains of 215 children at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.
The government-sponsored, church-run institutions operated in Canada for more than 120 years and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission ruled in 2015 they constituted a cultural genocide.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 9, 2021.
The Canadian Press