Good News in History, January 7

Good News in History, January 7

Stephen Harper and Aboriginal leaders

On this day 18 years ago, the Canadian government in an elaborate ceremony formally apologized for the first time to the nation’s indigenous peoples for past acts of oppression. They pledged $245 million in counseling and treatment programs for the thousands of Indians who were taken from their homes and forced to attend abusive school programs–and pledged other money for economic development. It was one tiny step to heal the pain of Canada’s aboriginal population, which include Inuits and numbers 810,000. (1998)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper also apologized formally in 2008 (pictured above), this time in the House of Commons chamber. That official expression of regret included $1.9 billion in compensation for victims of the “residential schools” program that were operating in 130 locations nationwide, some for more than a century; and established a truth and reconciliation commission to examine the religious schools’ legacy.

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • Galileo Galilei observed the four largest moons of Jupiter for the first time and named them, so the four are known as the Galilean moons (1610)
  • Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard and Bostonian John Jeffries used a balloon to complete the first aerial crossing of the English Channel (1785)
  • George Gershwin completed Rhapsody in Blue (1924)
  • The First transatlantic telephone call was made from New York City to London (1927)
  • The Harlem Globetrotters played their first basketball game and would combine athleticism and comedy to create a world renown traveling show (1927)Marian-Anderson-sings
  • Singer Marian Anderson made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, becoming the first black performer to take the stage as a member (1955)