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Teach residential school history in classes, says newly elected Ontario regional chief

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SUDBURY —
A familiar face within the Anisinabek Nation and on Manitoulin Island will soon be ascending to one of the highest offices in the province.

Former Anishinabek Nation Grand Chief Glen Hare was elected to the position of Ontario Regional Chief during the 47th Annual All Ontario Chiefs Conference on Thursday.

For Hare, who hails from M’Chigeeng First Nation, it’s a big honour.

“I don’t take it very lightly, lots of thought has been put into this, I didn’t just jump in for the sake of looking for work,” he said. “First and foremost any political leader needs his family’s support, 100 per cent, and I still had that coming from the Grand Chief of the Anishinabek Nation.”

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In an interview with CTV News, Hare, who is no stranger to politics, said he’s looking forward to the challenge of representing Ontario nationally.

It comes on the heels of the discovery of 215 children buried at the former Kamloops residential school in British Columbia.

Hare said it’s time to switch focus to finding other victims

“It time for the truth,” he said. “The government is the one that came and got our kids, our babies, at our homes. My God, they’re responsible for bringing them back home. One hundred per cent.”

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“These are horror stories. They were murdered.”

He’s seen shocking news clips of children being taken away from families in cattle trucks to residential schools.

“You don’t treat us like that,” Hare said. “I was just appalled to see that.”

Canadian students need to learn the full history of how First Nations people have been treated, he said. Many Canadians have been shocked to learn the ugly history of residential schools, and that has to change. Right now, too many people don’t believe Indigenous people when they tell their stories.

“Put the truth in education,” Hare said. “Put it in the classrooms … It has to be put into the history, because they need to know. Teach everybody what happened.”

When it comes to truth and reconciliation, Hare said he’s heard a lot of talk in the last five decades, but very little action. That has to change.

“No more talk, and no more bringing this up only when they have an election,” he said.

In terms of his priorities, Hare said he will work with chiefs to set their agenda and find out what is most important to them.

“And I need government leadership at the table,” he said. “Let’s do this together. I want to work with everybody.”

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“I know the government leaders, provincial and federal. I want them to meet my leadership, too, and let’s meet at the table and talk about these things. Be part of the solution.” 

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