The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in collaboration with Reconciliation Canada and the City of Vancouver presented a media launch for Reconciliation Week in Vancouver, September 16-22, in the Town Hall Media Centre at Vancouver City Hall on Thursday, July 25th.
M.C. for the event was longtime CBC broadcaster, Shelagh Rogers who is also a TRC Honourary Witness designate. Ms. Rogers will be involved in facilitating some of the sessions during the TRC events portion of Reconciliation Week, September 18th-21st at the PNE grounds in East Vancouver.
During the 45 minute program, the representatives of Vancouver’s media were treated to addresses from: Howard Grant, Executive Director of the First Nations Summit; Vancouver Mayor, Gregor Robertson; Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair, Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Nick Noorani, TRC Honourary Witness designate; Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, Chairman of the National Assembly of First Nations Elder Council, Special Advisor to both Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Indian Residential School Resolutions Canada and Theresa Campbell of the Musqueam First Nation who opened the event with a very moving prayer.
The purpose of the Media Launch was to excite and inspire Vancouver’s media to broadly spread the information about Reconciliation Week and to help promote the message that this event is important to all Canadians.
Mayor Gregor Robertson, after acknowledging the Musqueam, Katzie and Squamish First Nations on whose lands City Hall is situated, strongly voiced his commitment and the commitment of Council and the City to all the Reconciliation Week activities and events to be held in the City. He said that he believes that Chief Robert Joseph's estimate of 50,000 people participating in the events of the week including the Walk of Reconciliation, September 22nd will be more like 100,000.
Justice Murray Sinclair gave a brilliant 15 minute address within which he summarized the mandate and role of the TRC and the history of Indian Residential Schools. He informed the media representatives gathered that the unjust and horrible reality of Indian Residential Schools and the resulting deculturalization of entire generations should not be seen as an aboriginal problem, it should be seen as a Canadian problem. He went on to say that this is the sixth National TRC event and it could be the best attended and most supported. He urged that everyone in Canada needs to have access to the truth about Indian Residential Schools.
Justice Sinclair and others at the podium that morning stressed that in order for Reconciliation to be successful the Canadian immigrant population both current and future needs to be engaged and informed.
Chief Dr. Robert Joseph's enthusiasm at the lectern was infectious. He is very excited about the upcoming events in September. He said "The support in this city is unbelievable. Through deep dialogue and mutual understanding we can move together in new and exciting ways. The entire world will be focused on us, they will see how Canadians care for each other and how we ALL belong here." He urged the representatives of the media present to "carry the message forward."
In his Pastoral Letter read in parishes of the Diocese of New Westminster May 19th, 2013, Bishop Michael Ingham wrote: “On Sunday, September 22, a Walk for Reconciliation
will begin from the Vancouver Art Gallery at 10 am. It is especially important that Christian churches be visible participants in this walk. A representative of the National Church, our Metropolitan, and the National Anglican Indigenous Bishop will be taking part, and I encourage every member of our Diocese to join this walk as well.
I urge each parish in our Diocese to move their primary Sunday liturgy downtown that day, and to see participation in the Walk for Reconciliation as their act of worship. Our Cathedral is planning a special service of worship at 8 am, at which all will be welcome.”
Please visit the Reconciliation Canada website
for program and registration information.
Images: Homepage, Shelagh Rogers. Top left, Theresa Campbell of the Musqueam First Nation offered a moving prayer. Middle right, Mayor Gregor Robertson, City Council and City of Vancouver are committed to Reconciliation Week. Lower left, Chief Dr. Robert Joseph’s enthusiasm was infectious as he encouraged representatives of Vancouver’s media to “carry the message forward.” Below, the Venerable Ellen Clark King, Archdeacon of Burrard and Vicar of Christ Church Cathedral, represented the Diocese of New Westminster at the Media Launch. Here she is speaking with Gordon Chualna.