The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

I acknowledge that I live on Treaty 1 land, the original lands of the Anishinaabe peoples and on the homeland of the Métis nation.

September 30, 2021 is the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Canada had 140 federally run Indian Residential Schools from 1831 to 1998, and the harm caused by these schools reverberates today. This day was created to honour the children of residential schools, their families and communities.

Here are some ideas on how to honour the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:

More ideas here and here.

I wrote about residential schools earlier in A National Disgrace. Stephen Gardiner wrote a very thoughtful piece here and Chris Mears responded with his own thoughts.

I realize that three train bloggers aren’t going to change the world with words. There is a tremendous amount of work to be done. I am trying to do my own part by educating myself, encouraging others to educate themselves, and highlighting and contributing to various aboriginal groups and charities. I encourage you to do the same.

If nothing else, please spend some time on September 30 to reflect on Canada’s troubled history, and don’t just treat it as another day off.

8 thoughts on “The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation”

  1. I like to think that three train bloggers who wrote about how we are trying to be better and leave behind something good is an equally good example of our potential. It’s wonderful company to share this space with and encouraging to know we’re not alone in trying to welcome a chapter into our future that is more compassionate. It’s good to know we’re more than just three train people and our passion extends beyond the frame.

    Great post.

    Chris

    Reply
    • Hi Chris, very good points. I like your optimism. I know I am trying to be better and help (in a small way) to improve this world for my children and for everyone else’s children.

      It’s important for us to read and listen and try to understand how others see the world. It’s easy for me as a white man to think that things are pretty good, but from another’s viewpoint you can see that things are not good and haven’t been good for a very long time. We need the compassion you speak of, and empathy too.

      Reply
  2. Thank you for highlighting the importance of this day. I was recently at the Royal Alberta Museum where the human history of Alberta gallery highlights both the high points of First Nations culture and the low points of the residential schools. The centre focus was a semi-enclosed area where a First Nation survivor of the school told his story through the medium of a large painting depicting his experiences in the school. It was an incredibly moving experience to stand there in silence and feel his pain.
    Thank you for helping us move forward with empathy for our fellow humans.

    Reply
  3. I first became aware of the residential school system from survivors 46 years ago when I taught at a band-operated school on a reserve in Northern Saskatchewan. It has taken a long time indeed for Canada to learn the scale of damage caused by these repressive institutions. I am, however, proud to report the impressive turnout for the Truth and Reconciliation ceremony Saturday here on the Miramichi.

    Thank you, Steve, for your post and suggestions for honouring an important day for all Canadians.

    Reply
    • It has taken far too long indeed, Dee. I never learned about residential schools when I went to school in the 1970s and 1980s – while some residential schools were still operating.

      I’m glad there was a good turnout in Miramichi. There was a big march here in Winnipeg.

      Let’s hope the momentum continues.

      Reply

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