Indigenous peoples have long fought to reclaim their Indigenous names and all that they signify. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 17 directed all levels of government to enable residential school survivors and their families to reclaim and use their names on all government documents.
In response to Call to Action 17, the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, announced today that Indigenous peoples can now reclaim their names, as written, on passports and other immigration documents.
While Call to Action 17 specifically referenced passports, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has chosen to go further and include travel documents, citizenship certificates and permanent resident cards, not only for residential school survivors and their families, but for all Indigenous peoples.
IRCC has streamlined the process of reclamation of an Indigenous name to be faster and more efficient for applicants. This service will be provided free of charge for 5 years.
We encourage all those who need some support at this time to reach out and know that support is always there for you through the Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 (toll-free) or the online chat at hopeforwellness.ca, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Also, for immediate assistance to those who may need it, the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day at 1-866-925-4419.
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