First Ever National Day of Truth and Reconciliation to be Held on September 30
It’s been a while coming, but it’s finally here. The first ever National Day of Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) will be held on September 30, 2021. A federal stat holiday, the day was created on June 3 when Bill-C5 was passed by both houses of Parliament. The idea of having a National TRC day was one of the 94 recommendations in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's final report released in June 2015.
Local Indigenous Elder, and a residential school survivor, Julia McDougall will be heading home to Fort Chipewyan, where she was born and raised on her family’s trapline in Wood Buffalo National Park - for a day of quiet reflection on the holiday. She appreciated the day.
“I am a member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation, a descendant of the hereditary Chief Mikisew, who signed the Treaty 8 adhesion on July 13, 1899. I still speak my first language, Cree. This upcoming National Day for Truth and Reconciliation means a lot to me. Today, Elders are sharing their stories. Some former residential students never had the opportunity to share their stories, due to painful memories. Some did not recover from the trauma. It is a hard journey to healing. It took me a long to time to share my experience. I am grateful that this history is being shared and talked about to educate communities. The truth is being told and reconciliation is beginning to take place.”
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) Mayor Don Scott says National TRC Day “invites us on an important journey of learning and reflection. It’s an opportunity for all Canadians to become better informed and educated about the history of residential schools and to honour survivors and those who did not survive, as well as their families. I see it as an opportunity to demonstrate not just support, but commitment to learning, listening and making progress on the path to reconciliation.”
“Rural and Indigenous communities and partnerships have been top priorities for this Council and we’re deeply committed to the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action as a Municipality. I think for many people, the recent findings of unmarked graves at former residential schools have increased the urgency to address the Calls to Action—and to ensure that they are addressed in a way that’s meaningful. In this region, I am hopeful that we will continue to work collaboratively with Indigenous communities on a pathway forward. My hope is that National Day for (TRC) will grow and develop and its impact will be felt for generations to come,” he adds.
The RMWB’s It’s Time to Talk: Indigenous Speaker Series will be hosting renowned Indigenous author Michelle Good on September 30 at a virtual event. She is the award-winning writer of Five Little Indians, a fictional story based on real-life recollections of residential school experiences. Visit rmwb.ca to register/more information.