September 29, 2021
September 30, 2021, marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The day honours the children found and the 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. It should be considered the same as Remembrance Day. It is a solemn day and there should be events associated with it.
There were 140 federally run Indian Residential Schools which operated in Canada between 1831 and 1998. The last school closed only 23 years ago. Survivors advocated for recognition and reparations and demanded accountability for the lasting legacy of harms caused.
The idea of having a commemorative day was one of the 94 recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report.
The move came shortly after the remains of about 215 children were discovered in late May by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
More remains have been found since then, and more searches are underway across the country. Presently more that 6,000 children have been found, although many people expect the number to be much higher.
We encourage you to learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada calls to action, including an organization’s responsibility to provide educational opportunities for management and staff on the history of Indigenous peoples, including the history and legacy of Residential Schools.
UNE National Equity Representative for Indigenous Peoples