#9 – A Day of Hope: A Conversation on Reconciliation, hosted by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada

On June 11, 2009, the Legacy of Hope Foundation organized a conversation on reconciliation between National Chief Phil Fontaine, Chief Robert Joseph and John Ralston Saul.

Hosted by the Governor General, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, and moderated by Rosemary Thompson, this conversation marked the one year anniversary of the Government of Canada’s apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools.

Her Excellency Michaëlle Jean provided the opening remarks for the conversation. She spoke of the need for Canadians to write and embrace the truth of their past and provided inspirational words encouraging all Canadians to seize the opportunity to achieve reconciliation. During the opening remarks of the conversation participants, National Chief Phil Fontaine spoke of hope and optimism, and indicated his belief that through reconciliation, Canada can be transformed. John Ralston Saul commented on the task ahead for non-Aboriginal people to understand their history and to move towards reconciliation and a new future. Chief Robert Joseph described the importance of undertaking reconciliation at the individual level. He encouraged the audience to begin to think about what reconciliation means to them and how they can contribute to and participate in conversations about reconciliation.

The participants discussed their thoughts and perceptions of what reconciliation would look like in 10, 15, and 20 years from today. This conversation was followed by questions and answers from the audience. Her Excellency offered closing remarks for the conversation. Again inspiring the room, the Governor General spoke of her own journey to Canada and how she felt connected to the country through Aboriginal peoples and communities. She indicated that the country needs to change its paradigms, and stop calling the problems affecting Aboriginal people as Aboriginal problems, because they are Canadian problems and Canadian issues. Finally, Her Excellency noted that if we want to go from words to action that we need to understand that reconciliation is a shared responsibility that requires that we break the indifference in Canada. This conversation can be viewed HERE

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