February 27, 2015

Residential School Survivors, First Nations leaders and church representatives gathers to mark the demolition of St. Michael's Indian Residential School in Alert Bay, BC.

Miywasin to honour residential school survivors during "Healing and Reconciliation Week" in Medicine Hat

We are delighted to see a past participant of a Reconciliation Canada Dialogue Workshop taking action on reconciliation. The Miywasin Society in Medicine Hat, AB, will host "Healing and Reconciliation Week" March 2-6. The event aims to build community awareness on residential schools, as well as provide an opportunity for the community to come together and move forward as one.

The week will feature daily events, including a sacred fire at the Saamis Tepee site, a sharing circle, a banquet dinner dedicated to residential school survivors, a "walk for reconciliation" following the South Saskatchewan River and a photo exhibition wrap up the week.

To coincide with the events, The City of Medicine Hat has demonstrated their commitment to reconciliation and proclaimed March 2-6 as "Healing and Reconciliation Week".

Click here for more information.

Discover the Impact of Reconciliation in our 2-Year Impact Report!

We have seen many successes over the last two years. The 2-Year Impact Report celebrates Reconciliation Canada's ongoing story, as well as the growing list of milestones as communities and individuals nationwide embrace and take action on reconciliation.

Click here to read more our history, Reconciliation Week 2013, Reconciliation Dialogue Workshops and more!

Community Action Toolkit - Take Action on Reconciliation

Reconciliation is an ongoing journey and it will take a collective effort to build a new way forward. We invite you to contribute to this important conversation and help spread the word throughout your circles. Be it your family, friends, colleagues or classmates. 

The Community Action Toolkit is a collection of resources intended to provide you with some guidelines and ideas on how to start the reconciliation conversation within your own circles of influence.

A call-to-action for post-secondary students, student unions, associations and clubs. Click here to find out more.

An opportunity to gather friends, family, neighbours and/colleagues to join the dialogue on reconciliation. Click here to find out more. 

A ‘how to’ guide for senior high school students to action reconciliation within their schools, families and social networks. Click here to find out more.

Ideas, inspiration and tips for planning your own reconciliation event. Click here to find out more.

Residential school survivors and leaders gather to mark demolition of St. Michael’s Indian Residential School in Alert Bay, B.C.

In a powerfully moving and emotional ceremony on Wednesday, February 18, hundreds of residential school survivors and their family members gathered with political leaders, First Nations leaders and Anglican Church representatives to witness the commencement of the demolition of St. Michael’s Indian Residential School at the residential school site in Alert Bay, BC. 

More than 500 people crowded onto the former school grounds for an all-day event called l’tustolagalis in Kwak’wala, translated as “Rising Up, Together”. School survivors gave poignant recollections of the trauma experienced by children—and their children’s children—over the years. ‘Namgis First Nation Chief Debra Hanuse stated that while demolishing the building does not erase the truth of what has happened, it provides an opportunity for survivors to release their grief and pain. Participants lit a sacred flame and observed a moment of silence for the children who never returned back to their homelands.

St. Michael’s survivor and Reconciliation Canada Ambassador Chief Dr. Robert Joseph attended the event along with representatives including Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Union of BC Indian Chiefs Vice President Chief Bob Chamberlin, BC Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould, Regional Director General, BC Region, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Eric Magnuson and Bishop Dr. Logan McMenamie from the Anglican Diocese of BC.

"Through ceremony and prayer, together we take steps toward reconciliation,” said National Chief Perry Bellegarde. “Witnessing the Bishop of the Anglican Church pledge to continue reconciliation and change attitudes toward First Nations is encouraging. Witnessing the release by the survivors is powerful. Seeing that some are still hurting tells us that there's more work to do. And witnessing the young people sing their songs in their language gives us all hope."

“For many years I would never have believed this day would come,” said Chief Dr. Robert Joseph. “It was hard for many people to be here today but for many of us a weight has been lifted,” Chief Joseph added. “To come together this way—all of us together—is a powerful message of strength, healing, hope and optimism for the future.” 

To find out more and to explore some of the media coverage of this event, please visit:

The demolition began following the event
Left to right: Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould, Karen Joseph and National Chief Perry Bellegarde
The event continued inside the Big House
Chief Dr. Robert Joseph and National Chief Perry Bellegarde prior to the event.
Tła̱lila̱wikw (Pauline Alfred) delivers a survivors' prayer at the beginning of the ceremony
Chief Debra Hanuse speaks of the importance of working with survivors in constructing a monument in their honour
Carla Voyageur offering her voice, her heart and sentiments as an intergenerational survivor
The Right Reverend Dr. Logan McMenamie addresses the crowd as a representative of the Anglican Church of Canada

Help us move forward with our 2015 initiatives

Reconciliation Canada has many national initiatives and dialogue workshops planned for 2015. Help us move our initiatives forward by making a donation

Reconciliation Canada is a charitable project, established as a collaboration between the Indian Residential School Survivor’s Society (IRSSS) and Tides Canada Initiatives Society (TCI). 

Some of our 2015 initiatives include:

  • Reconciliation Dialogue Sessions & Action Plans
  • Reconciliation-Based Leadership Training & Core Competencies Assessments 
  • Sustainable Economic Reconciliation Dialogue Sessions & Actions Plans
  • Public Awareness & Outreach 
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