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National library association calls for release of remaining residential school records

OTTAWA — The Canadian Federation of Library Associations is calling on federal cabinet ministers to support a full public release of remaining residential school records held by the Catholic Church and the government.
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Pope Francis prays at a gravesite at the Ermineskin Cree Nation Cemetery in Maskwacis, Alta., during his papal visit across Canada on Monday, July 25, 2022. The Canadian Federation of Library Associations is calling on federal cabinet ministers to support a full public release of remaining residential school records held by the Catholic Church and other orders of government. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

OTTAWA — The Canadian Federation of Library Associations is calling on federal cabinet ministers to support a full public release of remaining residential school records held by the Catholic Church and the government.

It says the federal government committed to turning over 12,000 residential school documents after calls from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, which has archived more than five million documents and 6,000 witness statements. 

The CFLA says in a release issued today that the documents are important for understanding the injustices and human rights abuses committed in the residential school system and are integral for "the achievement of justice" for Indigenous communities.

The CFLA says in order for the Pope's recent visit to Canada to impact reconciliation, action must be taken to uncover the full truth of the residential school system.

The call comes one day before the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Friday.

Earlier this year, the federal government announced an agreement with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to hand over thousands of records, after the centre said last fall that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was incorrect when he told a gathering of Indigenous leaders on Tk'emlups te Secwepemc territory that it had turned over everything it had.

Survivors and Indigenous leaders have long called on the federal government to release remaining records that it had refused to fully disclose, citing legal obligations it had to third parties, including Catholic entities that operated the institutions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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