News Release – Squamish Nation Territory
The Indigenous Child and Family Services Directors Our Children Our Way Society, representing Indigenous child and family well-being organizations in British Columbia, recognize September 30th as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Mary Teegee, Chair of the Our Children Our Way Society reminds us that September 30, one day a year, we wear an orange shirt to remember our children who were ripped from the loving embrace of family, culture, clan and community to attend the horrific residential schools. The impact of this has been felt by every First Nation person. Cultural genocide is not something that Canada can say is a part of its history when it’s still on going, everyday.
The National Day of Truth and Reconciliation is one day…this is our everyday.
- Everyday young people are dying due to the opioid crises. They are self medicating because of the trauma inflicted by any number of the impacts of residential school.
- Everyday our children experience substantive inequality due to the Provincial governments discriminatory funding for off reserve Indigenous children and family services.
- Everyday there are children in care of the system living away from their home and lands due to the impacts of residential school.
- Everyday, we have children being ripped from the loving embrace of family, culture, clan and community into state care due to the legacy of harm caused by residential schools.
- Everyday we are missing a daughter, mother, sister, Aunt, cousin or friend who has gone missing or has been murdered.
- Everyday most of our people live below the poverty line
- Everyday we remember our loved ones lost to suicide because of the unbearable pain caused by the generational trauma of residential school
This is our truth, Everyday.
Reconciliation starts with truth. Reconciliation isn’t an observation of just one day a year. Actions taken by Canadians and government to “reconcile” must be ongoing … and everyday.
For the past three decades Indigenous Child and Family Services Agencies have been supporting Indigenous children, youth, families and communities that have been impacted by colonial and discriminatory systems and policies that have had destructive impacts on those we serve and on ourselves.
As much as September 30th is to recognize the impact on Indigenous people in what we now know as Canada, it is equally or more important for Settler Canadians to pause and reflect on their and their ancestors’ roles in perpetuating discrimination.
Without truth there cannot be reconciliation. Without understanding our history in this colonial construct of Canada we cannot forge a reconciliatory path forward. We encourage reflection on this National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. We call on every Canadian to take action in your lives, in your relationships, that support both understanding of truth and taking action to advance reconciliation.
“As we prepare for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we gently hold our relatives in our hearts. We humbly raise our hands to those who found the courage to share their lived experiences, allowing the world to understand the atrocities that existed in these brutal and barbaric institutions. Know that your community is standing with you, holding you up, and that we recognize that you will relive pieces of the deep traumas inflicted upon you on the days leading up to September 30th. We also honour the work that continues to happen across Turtle Island to locate the remains of our ancestors through ground-penetrating radar and to bring honour to their little spirits,” Jennifer Chuckry, Executive Director of the Our Children Our Way Society.
Indian Residential School Survivors Society: 24-hour Crisis Line – 1 (800) 721-0066
First Nations Health Authority: 24 Hour Residential School Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419
National Indian Residential School Crisis Line 1-866-925-4419