About 50 people gathered at Kiwanis Memorial Park in Saskatoon today in honour of residential school survivors.
The gathering was part of a national day of action calling on the Harper government to honour the apology it made in 2008 to students who attended residential schools.
Erica Lee, one of the organizers, says one of the reasons for the urgency of today’s event are revelations that emerged last week that thousands of students who attended residential schools in the 1940’s and 1950’s were exposed to bio-medical experiments of malnutrition by federal government officials.
“You never expect things like this no matter how long you work in the community and work with these kinds of issues. For something to come out like experimentation on First Nations children is really something that knocks you back a step.”
She adds the government’s apology to residential students in 2008 doesn’t seem to cover a lot of the revelations that are coming to light.
Rob Innes, one of the event organizers, says the Harper government cannot fully apologize to students who attended residential schools until it releases all relevant documentation.
“The government has issued the apology and everybody took them at their word, they were sincere, we want to move to reconciliation,” he says. “But really, you can’t move to reconciliation without the truth and the truth is in those documents and without those documents, we can’t have reconciliation.”
Similar gatherings were held in Winnipeg, Vancouver and Ottawa.