Our Roots

Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE) has been putting youth at the forefront of reconciliation since 2008.

April 2008

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is launched. 

June 2008

The first formal apology by a Prime Minister for the federally-run residential schools is given when Stephen Harper apologizes in a speech in the House of Commons.

18 October 2008
CRE is started by a group of students with support from Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux.

15-21 February 2009
CRE’s inaugural program takes place, with visits to Serpent River, Wikwemikong First Nation, and the Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization). The whole program is documented in a film called “Shielded Minds.”

April 2010
CRE stakeholders take part in a visioning day and commit to aid the Truth and Reconciliation process by providing an outlet for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth to discuss their experiences and strengthen ties.
8 April 2010
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission opens its headquarters in Winnipeg.
December 2010
CRE incorporates as an nonprofit with Corporations Canada.

August 2011
The government of Canada issues its first apology for relocating families from Inukjuak and Pond Inlet to Grise Fjord and Resolute Bay during the 1950s. At the time of this apology, several of those initially relocated are no longer alive.

April-May 2012
CRE organizes its first reciprocal exchange between non-Indigenous students at the University of Toronto Schools (UTS) and Pelican Falls First Nation High School near Sioux Lookout, Ontario.
31 May-2 June 2012
CRE organizes the “Meeting Place,” the youth component of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Toronto. Youth from Ontario and Quebec participate in a two-day training and several reconciliation sessions. Learnings are shared with residential school survivors on the last day in the form a short film.
CRE leads its first workshops for international students and university classes. The response is overwhelmingly positive, and CRE makes workshop facilitation a core part of its programming.
9-11 November 2012
CRE organizes the pilot Youth Reconciliation Initiative (YRI). 18 youth from 6 communities take part in 2.5 days of sessions led by Lee Maracle.
12 November 2012
The government of Canada announces its endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Truth and Reconciliation Committee hails the decision as a step towards making amends.
December 2012
Four women from Saskatchewan start the Idle no More campaign in response to the government’s omnibus budget legislation, Bill C-45, which weakened environmental protection of waters largely in Indigenous communities. With the use of social media, Idle No More becomes a global movement.
20 December 2012
CRE releases a press release supporting youth engagement and using Idle No More events as an opportunity to educate young people and not shy away from difficult conversations.

January 2013
Ontario Court rules that the federal government is obliged to turn over its archival records on Indian Residential Schools to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Prior to this, the government maintained it had no obligation to provide the records in Library and Archives Canada.
6 January 2013
A CRE visioning day is facilitated with past and present CRE youth. Youth express a strong interest to support the goals of Idle No More and hold the national conference in Saskatoon.
22-24 March 2013
CRE organizes its first national conference at Oskayak High School in Saskatoon, involving more than 80 youth. The conference is preceded by a community feast and round dance at Oskayak.
25-30 August 2013
CRE holds its first national YRI training involving 21 youth over the course of 5 nights.
September 2013
CRE becomes an official registered charity.

24-29 January 2014
CRE expands the YRI program to Thunder Bay, Hamilton-Six Nations and Sudbury-Manitoulin.
16-21 February 2014
CRE hosts its first reciprocal exchange between Winnipeg and Saskatoon with an exchange taking place in Kuujjuaq, QC.
April 2014
With support from Artreach, CRE launches a project called Stories Beyond Borders to strengthen relationships between newcomer and Indigenous youth in Toronto.
June 2014
CRE facilitates a workshop at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's education day in Toronto in collaboration with KAIROS. Over 200 youth participate in blanket exercises led by the CRE team.
CRE Board, staff, volunteers, and alumni develop the CRE mission and vision.
18 October 2014
Nearly 15 CRE representatives participate in the Toronto Scotiabank half-marathon and marathon. Over $5700 is raised for CRE from alumni, staff, and Board members.

April 2015
The CRE staff team grows by two people.
July 2015
CRE and KAIROS support reconciliation activities leading up to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's activities in Ottawa.
31 August 2015
CRE receives its 2000th like on Facebook page.
November 2015
CRE launches the 94 Days for Reconciliation campaign.

6 January 2016
CRE opens an office in Saskatoon.