Recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Practice Point

Every Child Matters

“Every Child Matters” logo by Andy Everson

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.

 

Learning the truth is critical to moving forward with reconciliation. On September 30, and every day, we need to reflect on the terrible history and ongoing legacy of residential schools, whether it’s through personal reflection or with others.

 

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.

 

Do your part and help with the heavy work by learning the truth, read the TRC Calls to Action, engage in conversations, and more. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has a schedule of events for the week of September 27 – October 1.

 

We will close the CLEBC office on September 30 and we will be sharing with staff, the Board, and our customers links to our free Truth and Reconciliation resources including our course on Anti-Racism in the Criminal Justice system and But I Was Wearing a Suit Part I and Part II.

 

We encourage everyone to seek understanding about the experiences of Indigenous peoples and to recognize that historical and ongoing systemic wrongs have impacts that affect us all. We can all help create a more just society by seeking truth and taking real action toward reconciliation.