On this inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we recognize and reflect upon the tragic history and ongoing legacy of the Canadian residential school system. Up until 1996 over 150,000 children were forced to attend residential schools across Canada. Thousands, estimates range from 3200-6000, didn't return home, and those who did were left with the effects of severe, persistent trauma. The impacts on these survivors, their families, descendants, and communities continue to be felt today. The recent discoveries of over 1,800 Indigenous children in unmarked graves make this violent history impossible for non-Indigenous Canadians to ignore. The legislation of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a fulfillment of one of the 94 calls to action put forward by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015.
We encourage all settlers to reflect on how our actions as Canadians, both past and present, continue to harm Indigenous nations and people. We must acknowledge the extent of the atrocities that occurred in residential schools as intentional and systemic cultural genocide that continues to this day in the over-policing of and police brutality towards Indigenous people, disproportionate rates of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, over-representation of Indigenous children and families in Child Welfare systems, and the impacts of environmental racism.
We encourage you to join us in taking this first Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Treaty Day, and Mi’kmaq History Month to seek-out, listen to, and honour the truths being shared. Hold our governments, institutions, social services, communities, and ourselves accountable to enact the remaining TRC Calls to Action. And commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation, in order to “restore what must be restored, repair what must be repaired, and return what must be returned.” What We Have Learned: Principles of Truth and Reconciliation, 2015.
Opportunities to learn more
- The Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre is holding space for a “Weekend of Reconciliation on the Waterfront” September 30th - October 2nd. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=4323096671106064&id=121366117945828
- The Truth and Reconciliation Reports can all be accessed here: https://nctr.ca/records/reports/#trc-reports
- To learn about the status of each of the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action visit Beyond 94: Truth and Reconciliation in Canada.
- Book: A Knock on the Door: The Essential History of Residential Schools From the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
As part of recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Phoenix offices and community programs will be closed on September 30th. Phoenix's residential programs will remain open to youth currently engaged in those programs. Youth in emergency can connect with us through our toll-free line 1-886-620-0676.