Nunavut Post

Sunday, December 5, 2021

The federal government is under pressure from Rome to obtain records

federal government

Key Takeaways:

  • The Nunavut MP says she understands intergenerational trauma and the need for answers and justice.
  • The federal government is being pressed to require Catholic church entities to turn over relevant residential school works to Canadian investigators also survivor communities.

Last week, two NDP members of Parliament wrote to Canada’s justice minister, David Lametti, urging him to take the “important steps” to have documents returned to Canada, some of which were recently revealed to be in Rome. “We are writing to show our dismay regarding reports that the Oblate religious order has transferred archival records relating to residential schools in Canada to the Vatican,” the New Democrats write, referring to a story about Ottawa historians’ discovery of missing Canadian records.

“Any documents about Oblate control of residential schools are evidence and must be treated as such.”

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Northern Ontario MP Charlie Angus and Nunavut MP Lori Idlout, a critic for Northern Affairs and Crown-Indigenous relations, signed the letter.

The Oblates, a Catholic order that operated 48 residential schools throughout Canada, also ran the Sir Joseph Bernier Federal Day School in Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut. Idlout’s parents went to school there. Former students and residents of the Chesterfield Inlet school and residence have previously spoken out about being physically and sexually abused.

“Having lived with intergenerational trauma, what happened at residential schools was a crime,” Idlout said.

“We need to ensure that this evidence remains in Canada so that First Nations, Métis, and Inuit can use them to ensure that we get the justice that we deserve.” Historians recently told the news that they had discovered new evidence indicating that some archival records relating to residential schools in northern Saskatchewan are only available in Rome. “The records that we looked at here are no longer in this country,” said Brenda Macdougall, a University of Ottawa professor and research chair in Métis family and community traditions.

Idlout, one lawyer who won her seat in the federal election in September, said she heard stories from residential school survivors in Canada’s North while campaigning.

Source: CBC News

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