Thursday September 30, 2021 | LANGFORD, BC [Last Update 3:20 pm]
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
Today September 30, 2021 is the first national Truth and Reconciliation Day in Canada, now being observed each year across the country in remembrance and recognition of the historical truths about how Indigenous peoples have been treated through the process of colonization.
The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.
For many who wonder how they can best honour the meaning of this day, many Indigenous leaders have suggested over recent weeks that people could spend some time reflecting on the impacts upon Indigenous people.
A practical way to do that might include reading and coming to terms with the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action report of 2015 including the 94 recommendations included in the report.
At the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation website there are archives and information on Truth and Reconciliation Week. There is a portal for survivors to learn and do more, and a page with links to all the reports.
Here on Vancouver Island there have been many ways of honoring and gathering. Here are some of the photos and comments of those acknowledgements today.
On the day:
Assembly of First Nations: Show your support for Residential Institution Survivors and their families by wearing orange because #EveryChildMatters today and every day.
National Centre for Truth and Reconcilation: “”The creation of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is one single step on a long path ahead. It is a journey that requires all people in this country to travel together.”
Perry Bellegarde (former chief of the Assembly of First Nations): “Today, I offer my sincere condolences to the souls of all who did not return home from their Indian Residential School. And I lift up the enduring spirits of every former student of the Indian Residential School system, including my father, Charles Bellegarde.”
Premier John Horgan, MLA (Langford-Juan de Fuca): “Public commemoration of our shared history is just one of many steps we can take in our work to advance reconciliation. We must also face the truth of the harms perpetrated by colonial policies and the residential school system. As government, we will work to deconstruct the colonial systems that are still in place and continue to harm Indigenous peoples. We owe this to the future generations.” (excerpt from longer statement)
Rob Fleming, MLA (Victoria-Swan Lake) & Minister of Transportation & Infrastructure: “Today we honour the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process. September 30th is also Orange Shirt Day, an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived Indian Residential Schools and remembers those who did not.”
Murray Rankin, MLA (Oak Bay-Gordon Head) & Minister of Indigenous Relations & Reconciliation: “Today we wear orange to honour those lost, those who survived, and those still impacted by inter-generational trauma from the residential school system.”
Sonia Furstenau and Adam Olsen – BC Greens: “Let’s take this day to pause and open our hearts and minds to who we are, and where we have come from.”
Shirley Bond, BC Liberals Interim Leader, Official Opposition: “I hope everyone will join us in recognizing this important day by listening to Indigenous voices, reflecting on the history of residential schools, and committing to work toward meaningful reconciliation.”
Canadian Heritage (Government of Canada): Today is Orange Shirt Day, in support of the survivors of residential schools. Today also marks the 1st annual National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. A time to learn the history of residential schools & hear stories from survivors and their families.
Scott Stinson, Superintendent, Sooke School District 62: “As we honour National Truth and Reconciliation Day the SD62 Board is pleased to showcase the art of Connie Watts. This visual acknowledgement of the traditional territories of the Sci’anew, T’Souke and Pacheedaht First Nations is proudly displayed in the entrance to our Board Office.”
Schools are closed:
Today September 30 most schools, post-secondary, health-care sector and crown corporation offices are closed in recognition of the new statutory holiday.
Locally here on the west shore, all SD62 schools and buildings will be closed to commemorate the history and ongoing trauma caused by residential schools and to honour those who were lost and the survivors, families and communities who continue to grieve.
===== Photos welcome:
If you wish to submit your photos from your Truth and Reconciliation activities today on September 30, 2021, please email (as jpg attachment) to email@example.com .