Dec 24, 2015 by

CREDIT: AP Photo/Michel Euler

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses world leaders at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015.

Seven years after the Canadian government formally apologized for its role in running residential schools used to strip indigenous Canadians of their ethnic identities, the Prime Minister has promised “true reconciliation.”

“Our goal, as we move forward together, is clear: it is to lift this burden from your shoulders, from those of your families and communities. It is to accept fully our responsibilities and our failings, as a government and as a country,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told hundreds of residential school survivors this week.

Trudeau’s announcement came after the sixth and final report on the residential school system was issued by the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The newly-elected prime minister vowed to develop a framework to respond to what the Commission called “cultural genocide” against the country’s indigenous population.

READ MORE: The Canadian Government Systematically Tortured And Abused Aboriginal Children For 100 Years

“We recognize that true reconciliation goes beyond the scope of the commission’s calls to action,” Trudeau said. “I am therefore announcing that we will work with leaders of First Nations, the Métis nation, Inuit, provinces and territories, parties to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and other key partners to design a national engagement strategy for developing and implementing a national reconciliation framework, including a formal response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action.”

ThinkProgress reported on the program in June:

Families were often coerced by police into sending their children to these schools as part of a policy, intended, “not to educate them, but primarily to break their link to their culture and identity,” according to the commission’s findings. The schools functioned first under the purview of various churches, and then with the support of the government from 1883 until 1998.

The children’s cultural identity was not the only thing that suffered at the schools — First Nation, Métis, and Inuit children were brutalized through physical abuse, sexual violence, derogatory language, meager food, and a deliberate attempt to rid them of their cultural identities. The commission found that at least 3,201 students died while at the schools, often because of abuse and neglect.

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