For many workers, last week marked the first statutory holiday recognizing the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
The federal government declared Sept. 30 a day off for its employees in June. While the day was not a provincial statutory holiday, the B.C. government did direct many schools and government offices to close.
Whether you had the day off or not, all residents needed to act on their citizenship and not let the day slip by without some sombre reflection on the history of residential schools and their impact in Canada. Some educators and other residents have pointed out it is unfortunate that the day was being marked as a statutory holiday, as it could have allowed school children a learning opportunity within an educational context.
This is likely true, however, we feel that it is on every person to have taken part in the day and we are glad to see that the day received special recognition across the nation.
Although the issue of residential schools has been one that has increasingly taken a more prominent role in our national discourse since the official federal apology of 2010, the last six months have seen a more acute focus because of the uncovering of unmarked grave sites, with the first being at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, last May. It’s important that Sept. 30 served as an opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to honour the survivors and recognize the impact of residential schools from their own perspectives.
But the day ought to have gone further in ensuring that we see one another as co-habitants working toward a shared future and toward the building of a stronger and renewed friendship.
While the residential school issue has at times been a divisive and emotional one for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, we hope that the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation brought healing and understanding for those in our communities needing it the most.
— Black Press Media
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