Open letter from Tk’emlúps leaders outlines Prime Minister’s steps to prove his commitment to reconciliation

These include the repatriation of all the remains of former students found on the grounds of Kamloops Residential School, the creation of a permanent memorial at the site, and the construction of a healing and education center.

No one from the Prime Minister’s Office was immediately available to comment on the letter.

The open letter also calls for the control of taxation, rights and resources across the Tk’emlúps territories, the recognition of this control by the courts and the half-masting of the Canadian flag every September 30 “in memory of lost cultures , languages, childhoods and lives taken by residential schools.

Trudeau repeatedly apologized on Monday for not attending events in Kamloops to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30. He was on vacation in Tofino.

Tk’emlups chief Rosanne Casimir told Trudeau on Monday that to truly honor the September 30 date and families whose children have not returned home, the flags should be half-masted on that day.

The prime minister agreed, saying the flags will always be lowered and that a flag designed by the National Council for Truth and Reconciliation will be hoisted. “There will be an opportunity for all Canadians, non-Indigenous Canadians to reflect on the country in which we live. “

A similar petition demanding rights and title was presented by the ancestors of the Tk’emlups to Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier in 1910, the letter says.

This petition was not only rejected, “but the federal government supported the genocide of our people by creating residential schools, took away our voting rights, prevented our legal challenges to title to our land, reduced the size of our reserves and has officially withdrawn our fiscal powers to ensure our sustainability, ”he said.

The letter says Canada will never achieve reconciliation “through words, apologies and simple signals of virtue,” and adds that hard work awaits us, highlighting a closing sentence in the 111-year-old petition. to Laurier which, according to them, remains true today.

“As long as what we see as justice is denied to us, discontent and unrest will exist among us and we will continue to strive for improvement.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 19, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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