Like so many of you, we are spending September 30 bearing witness to the atrocities of colonization and of residential schools, and reflecting on our responsibility as elected officials to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Today, September 30th, 2021, is the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This new day responds to Call to Action #80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and offers each of us an opportunity to reflect on our shared history of colonialism and resolve to act as individuals to advance the reconciliation process.
Today also marks Orange Shirt Day, a recognition of the ongoing harms of the residential school system. It is inspired by the storytelling of Phyllis Webstad, from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, and commemorates the Survivors and lives lost in residential schools.
We at OneCity acknowledge that we live and do our political work on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We recognize that the racist and violent practices of colonization have had devastating impacts on these communities and that marking the trauma of residential schools is just one component of reconciliation.
Like so many of you, we are spending today bearing witness to the atrocities of colonization and of residential schools, and reflecting on our responsibility as elected officials to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
We recognize that this cannot be a one-day commemoration. We are committed to ongoing meaningful action on Indigenous rights and reconciliation in our work on Council, School Board, and in our communities.
To OneCity supporters who are Indigenous: Thank you for your support and leadership. We hope you get a moment of rest today, while the rest of us do the deep listening and learning we need to do in order to be good partners in bringing about the justice that you deserve.
To teachers and support staff, we know you are working hard to help kids understand our shared histories and find their place in the future. We want to especially acknowledge the work of Indigenous educators who carry the burden extra heavily in schools. Reconciliation work is necessarily hard work, and we are here to do this work with you.
We encourage you to:
- Read the latest Truth and Reconciliation Report and the 94 Calls to Action
- Share child-friendly resources with parents and caregivers
- Participate in local activities hosted by Indigenous Nations and groups, like the Orange Shirt Day gathering at Grandview Park.
- Donate to Indigenous projects, artists, organizations, and Nations. If you are able, we encourage everyone to give “One Days Pay” using the resources at onedayspay.ca.
Jennifer and Christine