SATURDAY, 3 JANUARY 2017, 6:00 P.M.

(OTTAWA, 31 May 2017) On Saturday, 3 June, beginning at 6:00 p.m., St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church will host the launch of a new exhibition on Dr. Peter Bryce, a medical inspector in the Department of Indian Affairs who, in the early 20th century, tried to expose the poor treatment and living conditions of Indigenous children in the residential schools. A panel discussion on how to actively make change and build reconciliation will be held following the launch and will feature speakers including Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, John Milloy, Author and Professor, and Teresa Edwards, Executive Director of the Legacy of Hope Foundation. The discussion will be moderated by CBC TV news anchor, Adrian Harewood.

Developed by the Legacy of Hope Foundation in partnership with St. Andrew’s and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, the exhibition explores the life and work of Dr. Bryce and the dual challenges of compelling policy change in government and encouraging awareness amongst the general public. His story is contrasted against today’s statistics that reveal how little has changed in the 110 years since Dr. Bryce’s investigative reports were written. As the people of today, who have access to huge amounts of validated information about the residential schools and their many legacies, we need to ask ourselves: What have we learned from the harms done at the residential schools and how has that changed our behaviour as citizens, and the behaviour of the government? Is the Government of Canada’s rhetoric on First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples reflected in its actions to address contemporary injustices that Residential School Survivors and their descendants experience? If not, then are we, the people of this period, sufficiently outraged that we will demand comprehensive government action? Are we willing, as individuals, to stand up and speak out for change and justice.

The Presbyterian Church in Canada administered eleven residential schools on behalf of the federal government from the mid-1880s until 1969. It was one of the first churches in Canada to critically examine its role in the Residential School System and in 1994 issued a formal apology to Indigenous Peoples. Reverend Karen Dimock, Minister of St. Andrew’s, said:

"On June 2, 2015, the bell of St. Andrew's Church rang out to encourage people marching to Parliament Hill in support of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action. And now, just over 2 years later St. Andrew's is pleased to partner with the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Legacy of Hope Foundation for this event celebrating Dr. Peter Bryce. His work and stature as a man of conscience inspire us. His compassion and advocacy for First Nations school children in Residential Schools show us what it means to be our very best selves.”

The launch and the discussion are open to the public and are free of charge. The Bryce exhibition will also be on view at the church during Doors Open Ottawa from 1:00 to 4:00 pm on Sunday, 4 June and on Canada Day, from 10:00 until 2:00 pm. 

For further information: Kate Laing – 613-612-4551, klaing@magma.ca