Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Gift a gesture of reconciliation to First Nations

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TORONTO -- Ontario's chief coroner handed over a gift of a small wooden turtle Friday in a gesture of reconciliation aimed at the victims of the notorious Indian residential school system.

Dr. Andrew McCallum told a two-day conference in support of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission he hoped the gesture would help see "spirits replenished."

"By this gift, we acknowledge the troubled past we share and express our hope for the better future that we are working to build," he announced.

"I hope that through the Truth and Reconciliation process, you are able to gain peace of mind and find forgiveness in your hearts."

Scores of First Nations people from across the country attended the two-day event, which included displays devoted to the residential schools.

Some suffered through a system that ripped children from their families and sent them to church-run schools. Many died or disappeared. An intensive review of Ontario records by the coroner has so far turned up more than 100 possible cases of previously unidentified child and youth deaths linked to Indian residential schools.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 2, 2012 A5

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