Reconciliation efforts in Edmonton schools recognized by city

On day three of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Edmonton, young aboriginal people shared their struggles with hundreds of audience members. Shannon Greer, Global News

A ceremony was held in Edmonton Friday to recognize reconciliation efforts in education and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Edmonton public and Catholic school board members and administration joined elders in the Smudge Walk in downtown.

WATCH: Reach Edmonton on Truth & Reconciliation Commission Recommendations

Coun. Scott Mckeen then presented Edmonton Public and Edmonton Catholic Schools with a proclamation at city hall.

“The City of Edmonton is proud to acknowledge Edmonton schools and their efforts to reconcile our history with First Nations, Metis and Inuit people,” Mayor Don Iveson said.

“Although we still have far to go, we are making positive changes in how we work together and share knowledge to build a stronger, more inclusive Edmonton for all.”

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There have been other events happening around Edmonton this week to celebrate the city’s Indigenous history and recognize the reconciliation efforts being done in Edmonton.

READ MORE: Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report details atrocities of residential schools

In December 2015, the final report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued 94 sweeping recommendations after spending six years examining the legacy of Canada’s residential school system.

Among the recommendations, the report called for curriculums to incorporate the legacy of residential schools in order to educate Canadians on the impact experienced by Indigenous people.

“We’re committed to welcoming and inclusive school communities for all our staff and students,” Edmonton Public Schools board chair Michelle Draper said. “Our classrooms foster an environment where students can openly talk about residential schools and the journey to reconciliation.”

READ MORE: Ottawa’s relationship with indigenous must be ‘renewed and rebuilt’: Trudeau

“We strongly believe that truth must be acknowledged to move forward to reconciliation. Together we call upon all our collective communities to build a stronger understanding of all peoples who dwell on this land we call home,” Edmonton Catholic Schools superintendent Joan Carr said.

About 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Metis children were forced to attend the church-run residential schools over much of the last century as part of government efforts to “take the Indian out of the child.” Many suffered horrific abuse.

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