TRC commissioners to accept the 2016 Calgary Peace Prize Award
Truth and Reconciliation Commission took first step towards healing old wounds
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Indigenous issues are not a thing of the past and people need to continue the conversation of reconciliation, according to an MRU assistant professor.
MRU is holding the 2016 Calgary Peace Prize Award ceremony on April 7 and this year the prize winners are the commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) - the Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, Dr. Marie Wilson and Chief Wilton Littlechild.
Mark Ayyash, head of MRU's Peace Studies Initiative, said that the TRC mandate has been fulfilled and it no longer exists, though the work is just beginning.
“They’ve moved on to other things,” said Ayyash. “[However], the conversation doesn’t stop.”
Ayyash applauds the work the commissioners have put into the TRC, which made 94 recommendations for Canada to better its relationship with indigenous communities.
“They did an extraordinary amount of work on this report,” said Ayyash. “They changed public discourse on residential schools. We thought they should be awarded for this.”
Although the work of the commissioners is complete, Ayyash wants to keep the conversation going.
“We thought it was important to keep talking about reconciliation, residential schools, and indigenous rights,” said Ayyash. “We should be addressing [these issues] and facing them together. Reconciliation has to involve indigenous and non-indigenous community members.”
John Lamming, Calgary Peace Prize committee organizer, said residential schools aren’t that far back in Canadian history and that reconciliation is still a relevant topic.
“This is an opportunity for Canadians to right what happened in the past and recognize the mistakes that were made so they don’t happen again,” he said. “If we can achieve reconciliation, then we will be an example [for the rest of the world]. People can learn from our mistakes and what we did to address them.”
Dr. Marie Wilson will be accepting the award on the commission’s behalf.