The Board looks forward to celebrating another of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)’s calls to action taken by the government. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a new statutory holiday echoing call number 80 from the TRC. We will honour this day for the first time on September 30, 2021.
The bill was unanimously supported in the Senate in June, finding success after a failed attempt to pass the national holiday in March 2019. The success and resurgence of this bill after failing to pass only a couple of years ago reflects a shift in government perspective and represents a positive step towards reconciliation.
In essence, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an extension of Orange Shirt Day, a day of reflection intended to create support for residential school reconciliation as well as awareness of the intergenerational impacts of residential schools and the “Every Child Matters” movement.
Orange Shirt Day was established in 2013. Local governments, school districts and beyond come together annually, using September 30 as a day to acknowledge, reflect and learn.
The Board acknowledges the overlap between Sixties Scoop Survivors and Residential School Survivors. We experienced the same attempt to destroy our culture, language and dignity, by removing us from our homes. We also share the same perseverance, grit, resilience and spirit.
Efforts to move forward and support Indigenous communities are often born out of the terrible pain of the residential school system: the TRC was born from the largest class-action settlement in Canadian history for residential school Survivors, while Orange Shirt Day emerged from the Saint Joseph Mission Residential School Commemoration Project.
The tremendous news coverage of unmarked graves, the stories of those impacted by residential schools, the forced removal of children from families that caused the Sixties Scoop era and other atrocities has led to renewed calls to action and pierced the collective ignorance of Canadian settlers. The new statutory holiday will provide time for reflection, learning and understanding to further support reconciliation.
In our pain and through our perseverance we are united -- may we see the light and potential in our new, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The Board hopes that our fellow Sixties Scoop Survivors will take solace in this acknowledgment of all that you have faced. May this coming September 30 be full of whatever you need from that day - whether it is giving thanks, surrounding yourself with family, reflecting or letting the day pass with or without acknowledgement.