As an Indigenous woman on a continued discovery of embracing who I am, I crave Knowledge and Truth. Many of you reading may be chuckling because it is so true. 🙂 This is for the children. It is with respect that I share that tomorrow is the first “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation“.  As a proud Canadian I share that we all want both Truth and Reconciliation…… and many of us are interested in learning more. Here is the Cole’s notes version.

Tomorrow September 30th, 2021, is an important day for each of us and an opportunity to bring more awareness, learn, grow, and heal.  It is also a reminder for us all to be brave and talk. Have conversations, listen to stories, as in each story there is truth.  Here are a few Key Questions often asked. (The fine print is that there is a vast more amount of data and history…Cole’s notes)

What is “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation”.  In June 2021, the federal government anounced the creation of a new National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to be recognized on September 30th each year to fulfill the call to action #80 to serve as a day of remembrance, reflection, action, and learning.  Ok, so now?

What is a “Call to Action”   On December 15th, 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission published 94 ‘calls to action’ for Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Canadians to come together in a concerted effort to help repair the harm caused by residential schools and move forward with reconciliation. Call to Action #80 is below. Verbatim

Call to Action #80

We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.

Yes, it is painful and frustrating too many to know that this call to action took an uncovered tragedy to happen. 6 years later. There were growing calls for a National Day of Mourning after the first mass grave was found at a former residential school.

What is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) The TRC was launched in 2008.  Truth be told, the inception of this commission was the result of group of survivors of the Residential School System who received a settlement Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA).  They took their settlement and negotiated with the government and the churches to create the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).  Essentially the survivors both prompted and paid for the (TRC). It was the brave survivors who pushed to be heard and for the TRC to happen.  This process went on from 2008 – 2015. What came out of the TRC that is most notable is the “94 Calls to Action” ranging from child welfare to land acknowledgement. 

It was expressed as this.  “In order to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation the TRC mandated the 94 calls to action”. (Truth and Reconciliation Commission, CTA)

So, the new National Holiday and the Calls to Action all came about from the tragedy of our Residential School System.

What is The Residential School System? 

In Canada the Indian Residential School System was a network of boarding schools for Indigenous Peoples. Attendance was mandatory from 1894 to 1947. The last one closed in 1996. The network was funded by the Canadian Government and administered by the Christian churches. Two primary objectives of the residential school’s system were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their home, families, traditions, and cultures, and to assimilate into the dominant culture.  Many children died of disease, abuse, and starvation.  It is a complicated history of events that include many. This has been uncovered as a National Tragedy and now also considered a genocide. The sad truth is that the children did not learn much, and they were forced to operate as slaves in the very system that was meant to oppress them.

In my studies to put together this summary I read that it is the truth and the stories that will evoke understanding, compassion, and healing for all Canadians.  I also read “We all want friendly relations”.  Indeed, we do. I hope that this may help bring more awareness and truth and may all those who have suffered know and feel that they are being heard. That they matter. May the movement of Truth and Reconciliation move on.  May we confront historical wrongs together.

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