Tomorrow, NDP MP Leah Gazan will ask for unanimous consent in the House of Commons for the federal government to recognize what happened at Canada’s Indian Residential Schools as an act of genocide.

“There is no definition in international law for cultural genocide. What happened in residential schools is consistent with Article II of the UN Genocide Convention full stop,” said Gazan (Winnipeg Centre). “It is time that this government acknowledge the truth and provide justice for survivors who went through the most serious acts of genocide.”

The news of the 215 bodies found at the former site of Kamloops Residential School shows the scale of the tragedy, this is only one school. Grief and anger are justified reactions to this devastating news – and the certain knowledge that there are many other unmarked graves at many other residential schools, the party said in a statement issued to media.

A residential school survivor agrees that her experience was that of “genocide”.

“Before we can reconcile we need the truth to be acknowledged. What I experienced in residential school was genocide,” said residential school Survivor Gerry Shingoose. “It is violent that the government’s failure to acknowledge this fact leaves the experience of survivors up for debate.”

“All eyes are on Canada and it’s response to the deadly impacts of the residential school system on Indigenous people in Canada. I urge the Government of Canada to realize the utmost importance of a truthful response to the tragic discovery of hundreds of unmarked children’s graves in Kamloops. Today I stand with Leah Gazan as she calls on Canada to recognize that the residential school system fits the definition of genocide.” said Grand Chief Garrison Settee, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.

Gazan will ask for unanimous consent in the House of Commons on Thursday, June 10th after Question Period.

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