UBC president apologizes for ‘failing to confront’ over residential schools

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VANCOUVER — The president of the University of British Columbia opened the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre with an apology to survivors for the role UBC played in perpetuating a harmful system.

Santa Ono told a crowd that universities bear part of the responsibility for the history because they trained many of the policy-makers who administered the schools and tacitly accepted the silence surrounding it.

Ono says failing to confront a heinous history, even if the university didn’t cause it, would be to become complicit in the ongoing harm.

The dialogue centre at UBC officially opened Monday and is aimed at educating the public about the devastating impact of the residential school system.

First Nations Summit Grand Chief Edward John says the centre will be an important reminder for Canadians, and a valuable path to reconciliation for residential school survivors.

Ono says nearly every Indigenous family in Canada has been affected by the schools, and the effects on communities continue to this day.

The Canadian Press