MEDIA RELEASE: Canadian Roots Exchange welcomes the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report
OTTAWA (Wednesday June 3, 2015)
Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE) welcomes the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report and encourages the ongoing dialogue surrounding the effects of residential schools. CRE is a national organization of young Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who believe in a Canada where youth stand in solidarity to promote respect, understanding and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Our exchange programs, workshops, and events encourage Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth to share the history, teachings and daily realities of Indigenous communities in Canada.
Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, Chair and Co-founder of Canadian Roots Exchange, and newly inducted Honourary Witness for the TRC, called for adults attending the TRC closing to work with their youth: “Take youth to events, show them the world, and help them see why their involvement is critical to reconciliation in their own lives and the rest of Canada.” The TRC’s report symbolizes a wake-up call for all peoples in Canada to take up this call for action as a means to heal all of our relations. The continuous cycle of failure to bridge the growing divide and disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples cannot go on.
This past week CRE was honoured to play an active role during the TRC proceedings in Ottawa. In addition to the contributions of Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, approximately 100 CRE alumni and supporters took part in the Walk for Reconciliation in Ottawa and CRE youth facilitators were privileged to work with school children at the TRC Education Day.
We know the work we do in acknowledging those histories is not easy and is often uncomfortable. At CRE, we help youth engage in those difficult discussions while also focusing on the many positive contributions of Indigenous peoples. As Cynthia shared, as the daughter of residential school survivors, “Our people have so much to offer, and have contributed so much to this country. Tell your children about your history, inspire them, and make sure Canada never forgets.”
Canadian Roots Exchange supports all 94 recommendations outlined by the TRC. We will continue to stress the need to support youth programs focused on reconciliation and the importance of improving education on Indigenous histories, cultures and traditions for all young people in Canada. CRE has been operating for nearly seven years and currently has Youth Reconciliation Teams comprised of Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth volunteers across the country. Our teams will carry on with activities and events directly targeting youth that foster dialogue and respect, and build a shared understanding of the history of this land. The high number of Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth working together is a sign of a new spirit of cooperation and are already generating a new pathway forward for young people across Canada.
Canadian Roots Exchange honours residential school survivors and celebrates the tremendous work of the TRC by renewing our commitment towards facilitating reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people. We invite you to join us!