September 28, 2021
OTTAWA – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is calling upon the Premiers of all provinces and territories in Canada to recognize September 30, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, as a statutory holiday within their jurisdictions.
The federal government has fulfilled one of the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) by declaring this new national holiday.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a day that is to be set aside, in the words of the Commission, to “honour survivors (of Indian residential schools), their families and communities and to ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of the residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
But the day is not being marked evenly across the country and there is a patchwork of official recognition with some provinces saying yes to the declaration of a statutory holiday, others saying no, and others making partial accommodations.
“While Call to Action Number 80 is aimed at the federal government, it was clearly the intention of the TRC that all Canadians reflect upon the legacy of the residential schools and upon the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the rest of Canada,” said Ms. Whitman. “They should be given time to do that.”
Although Canada has many national statutory holidays, none honour the relationship with the First Peoples of this land. None celebrate First Nations, Métis, and Inuit heritage. None mark the bounty of resources they have shared with settlers and the descendants of settlers. None serve as a reminder of the impacts of colonization.
Yet, it is exactly this relationship upon which the country of Canada has been built. And in recent national polls, a majority of Canadians said it is time for true reconciliation to happen.
“Let’s be clear, this is a human rights issue, not a political issue,” said NWAC CEO Lynne Groulx. “If there isn’t buy-in across the country, it’s called fractured reconciliation, not true reconciliation.”
As we mark this day, which is also Orange Shirt Day, said Ms. Whitman, “we want all Canadians to join us in reflection and reconciliation.”
For information, or to arrange an interview, contact Gloria Galloway at 613-447-6648 or firstname.lastname@example.org