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the humane, moral and right thing

Source: Hansard June 12, 2008

Apology to Former Students of Indian Residential Schools

Chief Patrick Brazeau
National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples

Members of the House, it is indeed an honour and a pleasure to be here witnessing this historic day.

Not only is it a historic day, but it is a positive step forward in the history of this great country of ours.

I would like to thank the Prime Minister for his leadership, and for something that none of his predecessors has done, and that is to do the humane, moral and right thing.

Thank you.

More importantly, this day is about the survivors and those of you in the gallery. I am proud to be here on this floor and representing some of you.

I want you to know that even though you have attended residential schools, in my heart and in my soul you are true role models. Because of your resiliency, your courage and your strength, you have made me the strong aboriginal Algonquin Canadian that I am today, as you have others across this great land of ours.

Surely in a country that the entire world knows because of its great opportunities and hope, surely that belongs to those from whom it was taken so long ago. Today for me personally, not only is it a great day to be an aboriginal person or an Algonquin, but I am proud to be an aboriginal Canadian.


On June 11, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the leaders of Canada’s opposition parties apologized to former students of Indian residential schools. Breaking from “usual practices” in the House of Commons, all parties unanimously consented to having representatives of the communities affected by the government’s residential school policy make statements in response to the ministerial statement of apology to former students of Indian residential schools.

The first residential schools were opened when Canada was still a colony in the 19th century. Once the country gained independence, these schools were under the control of the Department of Indian Affairs. Native children had to attend. The last school closed in 1996 – the same year that the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples issued its final, damning, report.

The text is from Hansard.

statements in the House of Commons | June 11, 2008

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39th Parliament, 2nd Session, edited Hansard, number 110 | June 11, 2008


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