The Presbyterian Church in Canada
Remarks at the Release of the Final Report,
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
The Rev. Karen Horst, Moderator, 141st General Assembly
Ottawa, 15 December 2015
I acknowledge the territory of the Algonquin peoples with thanksgiving for their stewardship of this land.
Survivors, Elders, Commissioners, colleagues, and partners in this ongoing journey of reconciliation: My name is The Rev. Karen Horst, Moderator of The Presbyterian Church in Canada.
With others who have spoken this afternoon, I am honoured to be present today on behalf of our church. I am pleased to say that we welcome and honour the final report of the Commission. Over the past six years, we have witnessed the tremendous dedication of the commissioners: Justice Murray Sinclair, Chief Wilton Littlechild, and Marie Wilson. We thank you for your work and assure you of our continued prayers as you take up new challenges, and hopefully enjoy some well deserved rest!
We have witnessed the painful testimony of many survivors, whose truth is now partly contained within these seven volumes. We salute the courage of all of you who have contributed to hearings publically and in private. We also acknowledge those who did not feel they could speak through this process and respect your experience. And we remember those who have died before being able to share their personal experience. We especially remember the many children who did not return home.
And so I speak today with mixed emotion. Along with ongoing sadness and shame at what we now know about this legacy and the part our church played in it, I am also encouraged and hopeful.
I am encouraged because I know that many more Canadians, and certainly more Presbyterians now know much more about the legacy of Residential Schools than they did at the beginning of the work of the Commission. I am also encouraged that many of these people are deeply committed to carrying on with the journey that again today has only just started.
And I come with hope, knowing that the Commission has given us the tools we will need for that journey forward, both in this momentous report and in the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. We are now much better equipped than we were to continue to hear and study the truth, to combat the ongoing effects of colonialism and to advocate for justice in those areas of Canadian society where the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous remain far too wide: education, safety for women, clean water, access to health care, reasonably priced food, land and housing.
Our church is committed to staying on the journey of reconciliation and to working in partnership with First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples, and with all people of good will who share the common vision and challenge for our country that the Commission has laid before us.
In the spirit of healing and reconciliation,
The Moderator is presented with the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (on a memory stick) by the Commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
From left to right: Chief Wilton Littlechild (Commissioner); Dr. Marie Wilson (Commissioner); The Rev. Karen Horst, Moderator, 141st General Assembly); Justice Murray Sinclair (Chief Commissioner). Photo: Stephen Kendall
View the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada