(Saskatoon SK) FSIN Vice Chief Lyle Whitefish supports the recommendation to extend the funding for the Aboriginal Healing Foundation (AHF). A House of Commons Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development recommends the AHF receive a three year extension of federal funding.
Although Vice Chief Whitefish acknowledges the apology from the Prime Minister Stephen Harper in June 2008, he believes that true reconciliation involves both sides to be involved in order to achieve a sense of well being and prosperity. The FSIN hopes that the government also supports the recommendation to extend the funding which will support survivors through the Truth and Reconciliation process. Vice Chief Whitefish states, “with the launch of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the national events, there is a greater need for emotional support to residential school survivors.” One of the components is to provide story telling and statement taking which can be an intense process for those who suffered sexual, physical and emotional abuse.
Additional supports brought forward by the AHF projects are an extremely important step to healing and reconciliation. The 18 projects previously funded within Saskatchewan employed an estimated 110 staff as supports for residential school survivors. With the loss of support and the projects, many of the survivors are left looking for new supports and having to build trusting relationships with other organizations that do not have the knowledge or understanding of the residential school era.
The FSIN represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. The Federation is committed to honouring the spirit and intent of Treaty, as well as the promotion, protection and implementation of the Treaty promises that were made more than a century ago.
For More Information Visit www.fsin.com
Mervin Brass, Executive Director of Communications