Canadians across the country will be observing the first annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation this week.
In June, the House of Commons unanimously supported legislation to make Sept. 30, also known as Orange Shirt Day, a federally recognized statutory holiday.
As communities continue to grieve, everyone is encouraged to wear orange to raise awareness of the tragic legacy of residential schools. In order to move towards reconciliation in the future, this time is to be used to reflect on the suffering endured by the thousands of survivors and their families.
The Lower Kootenay Band will be having a closed memorial ceremony that will be broadcast live on their Facebook page and via Zoom. Visit facebook.com/lowerkootenayband for the links or email email@example.com.
The event will be closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Those interested in paying tribute can purchase bouquets of flowers for $5 at Morris Flowers (both the Garden Centre and downtown flower shop locations). Donations will be recognized on cards displayed at the stores, and the flowers will be laid on the cenotaph during the ceremony on your behalf.
In observance of the day, Creston Town Hall will be closed to the public.
“Observing Truth and Reconciliation Day on September 30 is an opportunity for us all to educate ourselves about the past and reflect upon the work that we need to do to move forward in reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples,” said Mayor Ron Toyota.
“Given the recent discovery of unmarked burial sites at former residential school sites, this year’s observance of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is especially significant. The Town of Creston remains wholeheartedly committed to building a better future together with the Yaqan Nukiy people.”
The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) will also close all offices, recreation facilities, and waste and recycling facilities to commemorate Sept. 30.
“The discovery of over 1,400 grave sites in Cranbrook, Kamloops, Penelakut Island, British Columbia, Marieval, Saskatchewan and Brandon, Manitoba this year alone, illustrate the damaging and lasting impact the residential school system continues to have on Indigenous people throughout our country,” said Aimee Watson, RDCK Board Chair.
“I encourage our community to embrace the significance of this day and take the time to listen, learn, and support the healing needed to address the trauma caused by the residential school system.”
Across School District 8, students will also be staying home on Sept. 30 due to school closures.
To learn more, visit the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation website at nctr.ca.
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