The Truth and Reconciliation Commission held a two-hour event at Government House this morning during which it inducted Lt.-Gov. Philip Lee as an "honorary witness."
The TRC was established in 2008 to tell Canadians the history of Indian residential schools and the impacts it had on the aboriginal children who were sent to these schools by the Canadian government. The commission is also to guide a process of reconciliation between and within aboriginal families, communities, churches, governments and Canadians.
Its report is due July 1, 2014.
Commissioner Marie Wilson compared the process of reconciliation of turning around a big ship.
"We have a Titanic to turn around," she told the crowd of more than 100 people who attended the event. Many more watched online.
She asked those in attendance and folks across Canada to help out. "This is a huge job. And this is a very small room. So we need helpers," she said.
CBC’s Terry MacLeod hosted a panel discussion that included residential school survivor, educator and elder Mary Courchene; youth leader Michael Champagne; Global TV managing director Jon Lovlin; St. Boniface University instructor Janelle de Rocquigny; Jan Sanderson, deputy minister of Manitoba’s Children and Youth Opportunities Department; and University of Manitoba president David Barnard.
Among those in attendance at the event was Winnipeg’s new police chief, Devon Clunis.
Justice Murray Sinclair, who chairs the TRC, said the event at Government House is one of several being held in conjunction with lieutenant governors across the country. He said the series of meetings is a reflection of the "special relationship that aboriginal people have with the Crown."
Lee told the gathering, co-hosted by the University of Manitoba, that he attends many events in a year. "But to welcome to Government House this commission, as it seeks a pathway to reconciling more than a century of pain and loss, is truly humbling."