Commemoration

Learn how the Government of Canada is responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action 79 to 83.

79. We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal organizations, and the arts community, to develop a reconciliation framework for Canadian heritage and commemoration. This would include, but not be limited to:

  1. Amending the Historic Sites and Monuments Act to include First Nations, Inuit, and Métis representation on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and its Secretariat.
  2. Revising the policies, criteria, and practices of the National Program of Historical Commemoration to integrate Indigenous history, heritage values, and memory practices into Canada's national heritage and history.
  3. Developing and implementing a national heritage plan and strategy for commemorating residential school sites, the history and legacy of residential schools, and the contributions of Aboriginal peoples to Canada's history.

What's happening?

The Government of Canada is working with various partners to change the membership of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada to include First Nations, Inuit and Métis representation. Bill C-374 proposes changes to the Historic Sites and Monuments Act to allow for 3 additional board members to be appointed. It is important to ensure that the way historic sites, events and people of national significance are presented and commemorated is inclusive of Indigenous peoples perspectives. The Government of Canada is also committed to commemorating the residential school legacy in a way that is meaningful, respects the diversity of survivor perspectives and is flexible to new ways of commemoration.

Engagement with Indigenous partners on both a national commemoration of the residential school legacy and on the roles and responsibilities of the anticipated 3 additional Historic Sites and Monuments Board members has begun.

In response to this call to action, Budget 2018 announced $23.9 million over 5 years, starting in fiscal year 2018 to 2019, for Parks Canada to integrate Indigenous views, history and heritage into the national parks, marine conservation areas and historic sites managed by the department.

80. We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

What's happening?

To enable communities to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools on the proposed National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples on National Indigenous Peoples Day, Budget 2019 announced $10 million over 2 years, starting in fiscal year 2019 to 2020, to support non-governmental and community organizations holding events in communities across Canada, through Canadian Heritage's Celebration and Commemoration Program.

81. We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Survivors and their organizations, and other parties to the Settlement Agreement, to commission and install a publicly accessible, highly visible, Residential Schools National Monument in the city of Ottawa to honour Survivors and all the children who were lost to their families and communities.

What's happening?

The Government of Canada is committed to implementing all calls to action. Work on Call to Action 81 is in early planning stages, specifically for engagement with Indigenous peoples.

82. We call upon provincial and territorial governments, in collaboration with Survivors and their organizations, and other parties to the Settlement Agreement, to commission and install a publicly accessible, highly visible, Residential Schools Monument in each capital city to honour Survivors and all the children who were lost to their families and communities.

What's happening?

The Government of Canada is not the lead on a response for Call to Action 82.

83. We call upon the Canada Council for the Arts to establish, as a funding priority, a strategy for Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists to undertake collaborative projects and produce works that contribute to the reconciliation process

What's happening?

The Canada Council for the Arts, working concurrently during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, developed the {Re}conciliation Initiative in 2015, in association with the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. The initiative invited applications from First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists, collectives and arts organizations, which include collaborations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists or organizations, for projects that use the arts to encourage dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

The program ran for 2 years until the end of fiscal year 2016 to 2017 and delivered $1.8 million in support towards 26 projects. Among the funded projects was the Opening the Doors to Dialogue workshops. Six Nations Cayuga artist Samuel Thomas led 42 workshops in 8 communities across Ontario and Saskatchewan, bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples to bead doors in an act of reclamation, healing and reconciliation. In another funded project, the Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre of Halifax brought together 50 Indigenous community members to each create a clay tile telling the story they wished other people knew about them. The tiles were assembled in a community mural at the Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre.

In April 2017, the council launched the program Creating, Knowing and Sharing: The Arts and Cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, for which projects previously funded through the {Re}conciliation Initiative are now eligible. More broadly, the program supports Indigenous individuals, groups, Indigenous-led arts organizations and arts or cultural sector development organizations that foster a vital and resilient Indigenous arts ecosystem.

By 2021, the council is expected to have tripled its investment in Indigenous arts.

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