The Citizenship oath all newcomers take to become Canadian citizens is being updated or changed to include a statement of respect for the country’s natives or indigenous peoples.
Federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced the upcoming changed on June 14.
The major announcement was that Indigenous people could claim back their traditional name on citizenship and permanent residency documents.
In addition to that announcement, Ottawa is also committed to update the citizenship guide to include the role natives or Indigenous peoples have played in Canada’s history, its future, and today.
The Minister also said the guide would highlight the role and stories of Indigenous peoples, including those areas that relates to residential schools.
Canada’s residential schools were for the most part run by the Catholic church between 1831 and 1996.
They were sponsored by the federal government to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-centric Canadian culture.
An estimated 150,000 Inuit, First Nations and Métis children attended residential schools.
These children were forcefully taken from their families, subject to abuse, and many died. The exact number is not known to this day.
These announcements follow the recent discoveries of the remains of 215 Indigenous children at a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia.
The findings has generated nationwide outrage, and more searches.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also called on Pope Francis to apologize for the cruelty and act of savagery perpetuated by the Catholic church in residential schools.
The pope declined to offer an apology.
Along with the incoming amendment to the Citizenship oath, these changes follow the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was founded to notify all Canadians on what transpired in residential schools.
The ninety-four (94) calls to Action were introduced in 2015, calling for all government levels to look into the ongoing impact of residential schools on survivors and their families.
Call to Action ninety-three (93) as to do with the Citizenship Guide, which inform prospective Canadians on important historical and cultural aspects of Canada. It reads:
93. We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with the national Aboriginal organizations, to revise the information kit for newcomers to Canada and its citizenship test to reflect a more inclusive history of the diverse Aboriginal peoples of Canada, including information about the Treaties and the history of residential schools.
The next item, Call to Action 94, concerns the Oath of Citizenship.
The current oath does not include the aspects about Treaties with Indigenous Peoples.
The Treaties are agreements between the federal government of Canada, provincial or territorial governments, and natives that define the ongoing rights and obligations on all sides.
94. We call upon the Government of Canada to replace the Oath of Citizenship with the following: I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada including Treaties with Indigenous Peoples, and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.
Currently, the bill to amend the Oath of citizenship has passed the Senate and awaits royal assent, approval. which means it is on its way to becoming Canadian law.