For many workers, today marks 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 will not be a provincial statutory holiday, the B.C. government is directing many schools and government offices to close.
Whether you have the day off or not, we are calling on all residents as an act of citizenship to 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 that it is unfortunate that the day is being marked as a statutory holiday, as it could allow school children a learning opportunity within an educational context.
This is likely true, however, we feel that it is on every person to take part in the day and we are glad to see that the day is receiving special recognition across the nation, nonetheless.
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 at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, last May.
It is important that this day serves 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 go 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 can bring healing and understanding for those in our community needing it the most.
— Black Press Media