The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair is Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC). Justice Sinclair was appointed Associate Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of Manitoba in March of 1988 and to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba in January 2001. He was Manitoba’s first Aboriginal Judge. In the course of his legal practice, Justice Sinclair represented a cross-section of clients but by the time of his appointment, was known for his representation of Aboriginal people and his knowledge of Aboriginal legal issues. He has been awarded a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in addition to many other community service awards as well as Honourary Degrees.
Reconciliation in Canada: Learning from the Past to Build a Brighter Future
On June 2, 2015, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) released its historic report and calls to action to redress the legacy of the Indian Residential School System and advance the process of reconciliation. Over 150 years more than 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were forcibly taken from their families and placed in Residential Schools, where they were often forbidden to speak their languages or practice their cultures. Unfortunately many of these children were also subject to abuse while in Residential Schools.
Under the leadership of the Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, TRC commissioners traveled from coast to coast to coast over the course of six years, and listened to stories from more than 6,750 Survivors and Witnesses about their experience with the Indian Residential School System as well as the intergenerational trauma it has caused Aboriginal peoples in Canada. The TRC’s 94 recommendations include measures to address the education and employment gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians, eliminate the overrepresentation of Aboriginal peoples in the justice system, and ensure that K-12 students as well as newcomers to Canada know the history of Aboriginal peoples.
The goal of reconciliation is to forge and maintain respectful relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples to build a stronger, healthier and more inclusive society. In this very special closing plenary, Justice Sinclair will be joined by TRC Honourary Witness Wab Kinew to discuss why it is crucial that all Canadians work towards reconciliation now.
This keynote is co-presented with Wab Kinew.