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Commission hearings into sordid legacy of Indian residential schools wrap up

TORONTO - The commission delving into the sordid legacy of Canada's Indian residential schools wrapped up nearly four years of public hearings Sunday, where thousands of victims recounted stories of cruelty and abuse at the hands of those entrusted with their care. The heart-breaking accounts — almost all videotaped — will now form part of a lasting record of one of the darkest chapters in the country's history. For many, being able to tell their stories was at once cathartic and a validation.

Commission hearings into sordid legacy of Indian residential schools wrap up

TORONTO - The commission delving into the sordid legacy of Canada's Indian residential schools was wrapping up nearly four years of public hearings Sunday, where thousands of victims recounted stories of cruelty and abuse at the hands of those entrusted with their care. The heart-breaking accounts — almost all videotaped — will now form part of a lasting record of one of the darkest chapters in the country's history. For many, being able to tell their stories was at once cathartic and a validation.

Ottawa to cut needed program for Indian residential school victims: Sinclair

EDMONTON - The man heading the commission into the trauma caused by Indian residential schools says Ottawa plans to cut a program that helps survivors of the system to heal. Justice Murray Sinclair said the program is for people who have told their stories of abuse at Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings across the country. Sinclair said the federal government is also balking at recommendations to improve mental health services that would help the extended families of these victims, especially in remote rural and Northern communities.

Sixties scoop: Aboriginals adopted into white families want formal apology

WINNIPEG - Some aboriginal people who were adopted into white families during the so-called Sixties Scoop say it's their turn for reconciliation and are calling for a formal apology from the federal government. Dozens of adoptees gathered in Winnipeg on Monday to tell their stories — many for the first time — and figure out how to get justice. Coleen Rajotte was taken from her Cree community in Saskatchewan when she was three months old and raised by a Manitoba family. Adoptees were robbed of their real families and feel someone has to be held accountable, she said.

Federal Appeal Court gives go-ahead to hear First Nations' day-student suit

VANCOUVER - The Federal Court of Appeal has dismissed Ottawa's attempt to stop a class-action lawsuit filed by several British Columbia First Nations for students who attended native residential schools by day and were excluded from the residential schools settlement. The Attorney General of Canada was seeking a stay, arguing that the Federal Court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case. The court dismissed the application first last year, and the Federal Appeal Court has now upheld that decision.

Ottawa will turn over police records to residential school survivors

OTTAWA - The federal government agreed Wednesday to turn over thousands of police documents that survivors of a notorious aboriginal residential school say are crucial to their compensation claims. A spokeswoman for Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt said the government would comply with a Tuesday ruling by an Ontario Superior Court judge that ordered it to hand over the documents in its possession.

Ontario schools not doing enough to provide aboriginal education: study

TORONTO - Ontario schools aren't doing enough to educate the 82 per cent of aboriginal students who attend off-reserve schools about their cultures and histories, according to a new report released Thursday. Almost all provincial elementary and high schools have aboriginal students, but 51 per cent of elementary schools and 41 per cent of high schools surveyed don't have aboriginal education opportunities, said the People for Education report.

Harper Tories 'on side of pedophiles and sadists,' opposition charges

TORONTO - The Conservative government has acted in bad faith and may be in contempt of court by hiding information related to horrific abuse at an Indian residential school, an opposition MP and a lawyer say. The stonewalling, they say, flies squarely in the face of government's legal obligations under a lawsuit settlement that saw Prime Minister Stephen Harper make an historic apology to First Nations for the residential school system.

New documents show Manitoba minister rejected initial draft apology

WINNIPEG - Manitoba's aboriginal affairs minister rejected an initial draft apology for comments he made referring to ignorant white people, documents obtained by The Canadian Press show. The documents, released under the province's freedom-of-information law, shed new light on the government's response to a controversy that erupted after Eric Robinson criticized a burlesque show fundraiser at the Osborne House women's shelter in Winnipeg.

Residential school reconciliation walks draws thousands in Vancouver

VANCOUVER - Thousands of people braved a pouring rain in Vancouver to take part in a reconciliation walk marking the sad history of residential schools in Canada. Bernice King, the youngest daughter of American civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr., delivered a keynote speech to the crowd. King says the commission and the march are an important step toward this country realizing its full potential, through inclusion of aboriginal and all members of society.
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