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Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Visit the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission website.

The national Truth and Reconciliation Commission goals:
  • Prepare a complete historical record on the policies and operations of Indian residential schools in Canada.
  • Complete a public report including recommendations to the parties of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
  • Establish a national research centre that will be a lasting resource about the IRS legacy.

As a result of participation in the local TRC process in June 2012, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon has created the Diocesan Council of Truth and Reconciliation (DCTR) -- a local dialogue and governing body in the diocese, equivalent to the Diocesan Priests' Council and the Diocesan Pastoral Council.

Mission Statement for Diocesan Council of Truth and Reconciliation

The Diocesan Council of Truth and Reconciliation is a sharing and consultative circle of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people providing guidance to the diocese of Saskatoon. It arises out of the promise made at the Saskatchewan Truth and Reconciliation Commission event held in Saskatoon during the summer of 2012.

Mandate of the Diocesan Council of Truth and Reconciliation (DCTR):

"...to provide a forum for listening and sharing, through stories and prayer, to collaborate with the diocese toward building and strengthening relationships, and to support healing from the Indian Residential School experience. Our goal is to help the diocese of Saskatoon to be aware of the many current issues which hinder reconciliation between our cultures and to discern a way forward through education and action, into right relationship in the light of the Gospel."

DCTR meets with DPC:

News Article: http://www.saskatoonrcdiocese.com/news/diocesan-council-truth-and-reconc...

Catholic organizations respond to TRC Calls to Action in two documents

In response to Call to Action 48 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and in response to questions raised on the legal concepts known as “Doctrine of Discovery” and terra nullius, four Canadian Catholic organizations representing bishops, institutes of consecrated life, societies of apostolic life, Indigenous people, and laity recently issued two documents. 

In the first of the two texts, the Catholic signatories express their support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. They affirm that “its spirit can point a way forward to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.” The Catholic response to Call to Action 48 includes an “appeal to all our Catholic brothers and sisters — laity, members of institutes of consecrated life and of societies of apostolic life, deacons, priests, and Bishops” — to make eight commitments in order to “continue to walk together with Indigenous peoples in building a more just society where their gifts and those of all people are nurtured and honoured.” Find this first text here: http://www.cccb.ca/site/images/stories/pdf/catholic%20response%20call%20...

Also available in French athttp://www.cccb.ca/site/images/stories/pdf/reponse%20catholique%20cvr%20...

Reflecting on the “Doctrine of Discovery” and the notion of terra nullius (no-one’s land), the second of the two Catholic documents “considers and repudiates illegitimate concepts and principles used by Europeans to justify the seizure of land previously held by Indigenous Peoples and often identified by the terms ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ and terra nullius.” The signatories say “that now is an appropriate time to issue a public statement in response to the errors and falsehoods perpetuated, often by Christians, during and following the so-called Age of Discovery.” The signatories reject how these legal constructs have been used to disenfranchise Indigenous peoples, and again affirm the eight commitments made in their first document.

Both documents are dated March 19, 2016, the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is the principal patron saint of Canada. The four organizations involved in the signing are the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), the Canadian Religious Conference (CRC), the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council, and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.

Most Rev. Donald Bolen (now Archbishop of Regina) has also answered questions about this response to the TRC Calls to Action: http://www.cccb.ca/site/images/stories/pdf/interview%20bishop%20bolen%20...

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Archbishop Pettipas address at the National TRC closing 

"I am grateful for the opportunity to be here today to represent the over 50 Catholic dioceses and religious communities that were in some way a part of the Indian Residential Schools System. While the legacy of the schools challenges the whole church, the government and the whole of Canadian society, in a particular way it involves us who are party to the Settlement Agreement and to the work of the TRC.

"In their name I want to express our appreciation to the Commissioners who have worked tirelessly to lead us all in a very searching examination of conscience in regard to a painful period in our history. Through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, thousands of former students, their families and communities have given voice to their experience and we have been forced to confront the great harm and depth of suffering so many experienced. Through them we have had to face the pain of our past and that work has not finished. We have heard stories of resilience and some have also offered forgiveness and expressed a desire for reconciliation. In this way, they have held open a door of hope.

"The Commission has now presented all Canadians with Calls to Action. On behalf of Catholic entities, I receive these challenges and encourage others in our community to do so as well. In the next few months, I will be presenting these Calls to Action to all of the Bishops of Canada and to the Canadian Religious Conference as direction posts and milestones on the way to a reconciled future. 

"In the many events that I have attended, it has become apparent that the road will be long, but the end point is more than a faint hope. In Northern Alberta, where I now serve, people are strengthened by the prophetic words of Chief Poundmaker: 'We all know the story of the man who sat beside the trail too long and then it grew over and he could never find his way again. We can never forget what has happened, but we cannot go back, nor can we just sit beside the trail.' 

"His prophetic words join with the encouragement of Pope Francis who reminds us that 'God is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew'.  

"As the work of the TRC is coming to a close, we can say with humility that, while we may have not done enough, neither have we been sitting beside the trail. Through the TRC, Reconciliation Canada, Kairos, Returning to Spirit, the Oblate Justice and Peace Committees, the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs of the Western Catholic Bishops and in many other ways, we have been seeking and finding our ways of healing and reconciliation with our aboriginal peoples. 

"While the schools no longer exist, we have been learning how these former institutions are connected to the rupture that still exists in our relationships. We are learning that reconciliation is not only about the past, but is about our present need for justice, and it is about our capacity together to build a better future.

"As we look to that future, we will continue to be committed to remembering the past, to working in the present for healing and justice, and to animating our work with the hope of a reconciled future.

"Meegwich.

+ Gerard Pettipas, C.Cs.R., Archbishop of Grouard-McLennan, President of the corporation of Catholic Entities party to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement (CEPIRSS)

Ottawa, June 2, 2015"


CCCB Statement - Initial Response to the Summary Report and Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)

La Conférence des évêques catholiques du Canada publie une réponse initiale à la Commission de Vérité et Réconciliation

http://www.cccb.ca/site/images/stories/pdf/Statement_by_the_Permanent_Co...

Diocese of Saskatoon In Video