VANCOUVER – New Democrat leader Adrian Dix and aboriginal affairs critic Doug Donaldson issued the following statement to commemorate the Walk for Reconciliation. The walk closes the national Truth and Reconciliation event that took place in B.C. over the past week.
“Inspired by the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, New Democrats along with other British Columbians have taken part in Reconciliation Week over the past several days. It has been an important opportunity to acknowledge the continuing legacy of the Indian Residential Schools and bear witness to survivors’ experiences.
“Residential schools were an expression of state condoned discrimination and racism. They caused anguish and suffering for five generations of First Nations children and their families, including thousands from British Columbia. The damage still persists: the worst levels of poverty and health outcomes are experienced by First Nations and Metis people.
“Furthermore, this inequality hurts not just First Nations people and communities, but all of us. This bears out in any measure you use, quantitative and qualitative, from overall GDP to the rate the mental illness to the level of trust we feel towards one another.
“It is clear that for our province to become stronger and more united, we must resolve the legacy of residential schools. And that involves rebuilding trust and respect through acknowledging the wrongs of the past, and working through the grief, anger and shame we have caused one another. And over these past days, aboriginal and non-aboriginal British Columbians have been coming together to heal, create relationships and build strategies to move forward.
“New Democrats are committed to continue the work of reconciliation, without which our province cannot realize its aim of being a just and fair place.”