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Records of residential schools, survivors' stories to be housed at new centre

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Millions of government and church records, photos and 6,000 survivors' stories, evidence of one of Canada's most shameful Indian policies, will be housed in a new research centre at the University of Manitoba.

At a launch event Friday morning, heavy on traditional ceremony, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will agree to transfer the documents to the new research centre.

"Even for those who never made it home from school, the evidence is there that they might be remembered," said Elder Garry Robson before the opening prayer.

On hand are Premier Greg Selinger, MP Rod Bruinooge, several aboriginal leaders such as Phil Fontaine and Justice Murray Sinclair, the head of the TRC.

Sinclair said the research centre will a constant reminder of the damage done to generations of aboriginal and how broken Canada's relationship with aboriginal people became, .

"They lost their sense of self. They lost their identity. They lost their spirit. They lost their direction," said Sinclair. "All Canadians have been damaged by it."

Selinger said, when he was teaching, so many students did not believe thousands of aboriginal children were taken from their families to residential schools, where abuse was rampant and aboriginal culture and language banned.

"The stories that have been documented bear witness to that," said Selinger. "I'm honoured this is happening in the province of Manitoba."

6000 oral statements

History

Updated on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 12:21 PM CDT: tightens up lead paragraph

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