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All welcome to National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at Trail Riverfront Centre

Land acknowledgement and opening prayer at 11 a.m.
L-R: Addison Oberg and Sarah Benson-Lord, from the Trail Museum and Archives, will have stations, or interruptions, set up in the museum for the community to learn about the 94 Calls to Action brought forth by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Photo: Sheri Regnier

The City of Trail is hosting a family event inside the Riverfront Centre on Saturday, Sept. 30, in recognition of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

“Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process,” the city shares.

“(The day is) to honour the children who never returned home and survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities … An all-ages event to reflect, learn, engage, and take action will be held on this day.”

The community is encouraged to attend starting at 11 a.m. with a land acknowledgement and opening prayer.

From 11:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. will be an interactive learning display of the 94 Calls to Action, history and educational resources, and light refreshments by donation.

The 94 Calls to Action are actionable policy recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, meant to aid healing in two ways: acknowledging the full history of the residential schools system, and creating systems to prevent these abuses from happening again.

September 30 is also Orange Shirt Day, a grassroots campaign founded by Phyllis Webstad. Orange Shirt Day grew out of her own experiences and the experiences of other residential school survivors who attended St. Joseph’s Mission near Williams Lake. It’s a day to honour the healing journeys of residential school survivors and their families and a time to engage in meaningful discussions about the history and legacy of the residential school system.

The shirt also shares the crystal clear message that “Every Child Matters.”

The city encourages everyone to wear orange on Saturday.

There were 140 federally run residential schools in Canada that operated between 1867 and 1996. Survivors advocated for recognition and reparations and demanded accountability for the intergenerational impacts of harm caused.

Their efforts culminated in: the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement; apologies by the government; the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; and the creation of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission ran from 2008 to 2015 and provided those directly or indirectly affected by the legacy of the residential schools policy with an opportunity to share their stories and experiences. The commission released its final report detailing 94 Calls to Action.

In June 2021, the Government of Canada passed Bill C-5 to name September 30 as a federal statutory day. It is observed as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This directly responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #80. Action #80 calls upon the federal government, in collaboration with Indigenous 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.”

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has become the permanent archive for the statements, documents and other materials the commission gathered. Its library and collections, as well as its National Student Memorial Register, are the foundation for ongoing learning and research.

The Trail Times office is closed Friday. We will reopen Tuesday, Oct. 3.

Sheri Regnier

About the Author: Sheri Regnier

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