Tuesday, June 29, 2010

TRC...the Inuit are calling!

We’ll hear from Inuit residential school students, commissioner says
“We know that we have a significant obligation to the Inuit.”

So read the headline in the NUNATSIAQ ONLINE news published June 28, 2010 and written by a Chris Windeyer.

Great to read that the commissioner, Murray Sinclair, will pay attention to the Inuit story as it begins its mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as he and the other two commissioners visited Iqaluit, NU on June 24, 2010.  I’d like to see a full commitment of the three commissioners to the North but, already, the Inuit seem to be secondary as the commission went to Iqaluit only upon an invitation by the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK).

(Photo by Chris Windeyer)

While the Inuit experienced the former residential system like the First Nations and Métis, they seem to take a bit of a back seat when it comes to a high level presence in organizations such as the TRC whereas the First Nations community is always well represented. Two of the three commissioners are First Nations and the other is a white person. More examples can be found in the former Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. While those two aforementioned organizations addressed issues regarding all Aboriginal people, they were both headed up, again, by a First Nations member.

The TRC is planning seven National Events across the country with only one of those events to be held in the North. The commission went on to say, “We know perfectly well that one event in the North is not going to do it.” Even with that understanding, again, the North seems to take a back seat while the South will be well served with six National Events.

ITK president Mary Simon and other ITK delegates said TRC events need to start happening in the North as soon as possible, because too many elders have already died waiting for a chance to tell their stories to the commission.

Yes, the TRC has a significant obligation to the Inuit.  Given its mandate, I have full confidence, in the end, the TRC will be as mighty in words as in deeds.