Canadian Indigenous Flag by Curtis Wilson of the Wei Wai Kum First Nation near Campbell River.
Recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – By Michelle Casavant, Veza Global’s Indigenous Consultant
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, September 30th. This bill correlates to the Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action number 80, which called on the federal government to establish a holiday commemorating the history and legacy of residential schools and to 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 30th 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 30th, and every day, we need to reflect on the terrible history and ongoing legacy of residential schools, whether it is 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, Murray Sinclair states:
“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 that Indigenous peoples are doing all the heavy lifting.
Do your part and help with the heavy work by learning the truth, reading the TRC Calls to Action, engaging in conversations, and more. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has a schedule of events for the week of September 27 – October 1, which you can access here.