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Minister Valcourt Marks Fifth Anniversary of the Prime Minister's Historic Apology to Former Students of Indian Residential Schools

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jun 11, 2013) - The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, issued the following statement today on the fifth anniversary of the Prime Minister's 2008 historic Statement of Apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools and their families:

"Five years ago today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper stood in the House of Commons with all Parliamentarians, Inuit, Métis and First Nation leaders and offered a historic Apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools on behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians. He apologized not only to former students, but also their families and communities, whose lives were impacted by this dark chapter in our history. The Apology acknowledged that the policy of assimilation was wrong, had caused great harm, and has no place in our country.

On June 11 2008, our Prime Minister recognized the extraordinary courage of former students of Indian Residential Schools and asked for their forgiveness.

The legacy of Indian Residential Schools is still felt today by Aboriginal people across Canada. Our Government recognizes this and that is why we have placed such importance on reconciliation and the restoration of Canada's relationship with Aboriginal people. We acknowledge that we must forge a new relationship, one that is based on an appreciation of our shared history, a respect for each other's cultures and traditions, and an honest desire to move forward together with a renewed understanding that Canada's future will be stronger if we build it together.

Our Government will continue to honour its commitment to these principles, and build on the concrete progress we have made over the last five years to ensure First Nations, Métis and Inuit are full participants in building a stronger country for all Canadians."

This statement is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.

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