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Chief Cadmus Delorme appointed chairperson of Residential School Documents Advisory Committee

Chief Cadmus Delorme of Cowessess First Nation, will serve as the chairperson of the new “Residential School Documents Advisory Committee.”

The decision was made in a joint announcement by the Ministry of Crown-Indigenous Relations and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) on Tuesday.

“This is just my duty of care to this country and to Indigenous people that we can get this information to help in our healing journey and this country’s journey through true reconciliation,” Chief Delorme said.

“This committee is our duty of care to make sure that information that is sought can be found in the easiest process possible.”

The committee’s role will be to “develop recommendations on the identification and sharing of documents of historical interest with the NCTR,” the announcement said.

Documents include residential school attendance records, staff lists, RCMP reports and library archives, according to Delorme. He said each community that suffered from residential schools is looking for unique information and answers.

For example, Delorme said Cowessess First Nation is seeking information to compose a chronological timeline dating back to 1898. The community is also seeking documents that will help put names to the hundreds of unmarked graves discovered on the First Nation in June 2021.

“The shield is down. Many are admitting they want to learn more about the truth so we’re really at a moment right now in our history in this country where I believe we all can reset our compass,” Delorme said.

"Today many local communities, ad hoc committees and First Nations are leading the way in the validation of unmarked graves attached to former residential schools,” Chief Delorme said in a news release.

“This advisory committee's goal will help by empowering the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to house records many are seeking to help in their healing journey."

The committee will be made up of survivors, First Nations, Inuit and Metis community members, as well as federal and expert representatives, the release outlined.

As an independent chairperson, Chief Delorme will oversee and promote consensus-based decision making to ensure Indigenous voices are reflected in the process of identifying, reviewing and sharing of residential school related documents.

"In 2021, Cowessess First Nation played a central role in bringing global attention to the unmarked graves at former residential school sites and the thousands of missing children who never made it home. We welcome Chief Delorme's leadership in this new role,” Stephanie Scott, executive director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation said in the release.

“I am confident Indigenous communities, survivors and their families, and respect for Indigenous law will be central to the work of this new committee as it strives to preserve the true history of residential schools."

Delorme said the committee plans to meet for the first time in the coming weeks. He expects many tough conversations will follow as the group tries to come to a consensus.

“People have different approaches on how to get there. We all agree on the end goal, but how to get there is in disagreement. We have to have uncomfortable conversations internally as Indigenous Peoples to Indigenous Peoples,” he said.

Chief Delorme will serve in the position for a five-year term.

Delorme has served as Chief of Cowessess First Nation for the past seven years. On Feb. 2, 2023, he announced he will not be seeking another term. Top Stories

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