September is historically a painful month for Indigenous peoples because it was the month when children were torn away from their families to return to residential school.
Bill C-5 establishes the new federal statutory holiday, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, on September 30. This bill correlates to the Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action number 80, which called on the federal government, to establish a holiday to commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools and honour the survivors, families, and communities.
The Government of Canada fast-tracked the Bill after the announcement by Chief Rosanne Casimir of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc of the found remains of 215 children on the grounds of the former Kamloops residential school.
September 30 was Orange Shirt Day, a grassroots movement, which was a day to wear orange to commemorate and remember the children that attended residential school, the survivors, their families, and communities. The last residential school closed in 1996 and the effects of the system and colonization are still deeply felt in communities today.
You are invited to watch this powerful interview of former senator and chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Murray Sinclair. Of note, Mr. Sinclair states that “reconciliation cannot come from a place where the non-Indigenous people think they are being benevolent.” He also notes that reconciliation will take 7 generations, and Indigenous peoples are doing all the heavy lifting.
CLEBC will continue taking action to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, and the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry Calls for Justice, in our work providing lifelong learning for the legal profession.