National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, A Day of Intention and Reflection

On September 30th, 2022, Murray Sinclair spoke to Canadians for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation’, he said; 

“Without the advocacy and contributions of Survivors, September 30 would be just another day in the calendar. It is only because of the strength and courage of Survivors that we had a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we now have a National Centre, and a National Day for this important work. Survivors lead us to this moment in the journey of reconciliation. As they continue to seek justice for what took place at the hands of the Government of Canada, and the Church, I remain grateful for their steadfast commitment to uncovering and giving light to the truth. 

"When the Commission envisioned a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we had hoped for it to be a day of intention and reflection. It would be for Canadians to take a day out of their lives, to lend our ears and our hearts to Survivors. It would be a day to listen to them, and to resolve to do better in the next 364 days that follow until the next National Day."

"So my message to Canadians is this: Today, and every day, watch and listen to the stories of Survivors, their families, and communities. We must all recognize that the Indian Residential School system is not just something from your history books. It’s something that Indigenous Peoples are still feeling the effects of each and every day. We are in a constant state of grieving for the families that were broken, for the cultures that were torn apart, and for the children that never made it home. Yes, your country’s history is complicated. But you don’t make it better by ignoring it or glossing over it. You make it better by helping carry out the calls to action, learning, unlearning, and resolving to do better. Because this story is not over. Records are still being turned over from Church authorities. Burial sites are still being discovered. And so many Survivors and their families are still seeking closure for what happened to their parents, siblings, cousins, and children. On September 30 and beyond, resolve to stand with them. Have their backs. Don’t leave them to do this work alone. We need your help.”

The reason it was called the ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ is because the truth was actively obscured for a long time. Throughout the system’s 100-plus-year history, school inspectors, school principals, medical officials and Indian agents repeatedly issued warnings about the schools. The fact is, the government of Canada, including the RCMP and the Vatican, including the churches, all have an invested interest in the truth not coming out. Why is that? What most of Canadian society fails to realize is that the very law that created the residential schools, and allowed this genocide to continue for so long, continues to exist today. The Indian Act remains the praxis of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples. The Indian Act, dictates, controls and governs the administration and control of Indigenous communities daily life and band councils implement the Indian Act policies. While discussions of replacing the Indian Act have been under way for several decades, very little action has been done by Canada to replace it. Even though it is estimated that in approximately 50 years, there will be very few “Status Indians” left. Which was the plan from the start. Another form of land grabbing by Canada as the dwindling numbers of status Indians will no longer necessitate “reserves” and relinquish the fiduciary responsibility of Canada towards Indigenous peoples.

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