Today, September 30, Centre for Suicide Prevention acknowledges National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day to honour the lost children and Survivors of residential schools and their families and communities. Indigenous people have known and endured colonization and racism for many generations. “More than 150,000 children attended residential schools; many never returned” (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation). This year, unmarked graves of First Nations children were unearthed at former residential school sites, providing hard evidence to all people living in Canada of the evils Indigenous people have experienced and continue to experience.
The outcropping of the intergenerational trauma inflicted on First Peoples for more than a century continues today – higher suicide rates, homelessness, addictions and violence are all outcomes of this cultural ravaging. We need to take action.
Honourable Murray Sinclair calls on all Canadians as he says, “It’s not just a part of who we are as survivors – it’s a part of who we are as a nation.” Together, we are called to reconciliation, to make reparations with First Nations, Inuit and Metis. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) final report lays out 94 Calls to Action for Canadians, at both the individual and the community level. “Without truth, there can be no reconciliation” states the TRC. We have the truth, now we need action. How will you honour the lost children and Survivors of residential schools and their families and communities?
- Wear an orange shirt to raise awareness of the tragic legacy of residential schools and to honour the thousands of Survivors.
- Create space for Indigenous voices by sharing Indigenous initiatives on social media and limiting personal posting.
- Read the TRC Calls to Action and ask yourself how you can apply these calls to your life.
- Hold government officials accountable to the TRC by sending a letter asking that all the TRC Calls to Action be fulfilled.
- Smudge, pray for the children who were lost at residential schools and their families. The National Student Memorial Register has a listing of the names of some of the children lost.
- Acknowledge the land on which your live, play and work; visit Native-Land.ca to learn more.
- Learn about the history of residential schools.
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