Reconciliation will build a positive foundation for residential school survivors and their families to build upon, according to Justice Murray Sinclair of the Truth and Reconcilation Commission of Canada.
More than 80 community members, including 63 Brandon School Division students, were at Brandon University on Wednesday to hear Sinclair speak about TRC’s initiatives and future plans.
Creating historial records of what life was like in residential schools, archiving government and church documents and engaging in reconcilation talks are some of the things the TRC is working on, Sinclair said.
The commission is focused on aiding reconcilation talks with residential school survivors, between survivors and their families as well as between the aboriginal and non-aboriginal community.
More importantly, there needs to be reconcilation talks between government institutions and organizations, he added.
"That’s a little more difficult to resolve," he said. "It’s hard to talk about forgiveness when you’re talking about institutions. It’s like trying to forgive the car that ran you over when in reality you have to talk about forgiving the driver."
Sinclair’s speaking engagement was part of Engaging Momentum 2014, organized by the Brandon Urban Aboriginal Peoples’ Council.
Other speakers included Charlotte Larocque, executive director and president at Spirit Staffing and Consulting Brandon Inc. and Ius Opes, and Gabrielle Scrimshaw, the 2013 Inspire First Nations Youth Achiever award winner.
Grade 12 École secondaire Neelin High School student Rikki Campbell and her mother Clorisse Andrews were among those in attendance, and both said they found the speakers to be inspiring and informative.
"This woke me up. It really moved me," Andrews said after Sinclair’s closing remarks.
"All of the speakers made it very clear ... not to give up and to be yourself and not be ashamed of who you are."