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Canadians challenged to commit to reconciliation year-round

Ceremony, Spirit Walk to mark National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in Ottawa.

Ceremony, Spirit Walk to mark National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in Ottawa.

Photo: Reuters / Blair Gable

RCI

Ceremony, Spirit Walk to mark National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in Ottawa.

On the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Canadians are being challenged to commit to reconciliation year-round.

Murray Sinclair, the former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, said the day was initially envisioned to be a day for Canadians to reflect on the country's history and treatment of Indigenous people — and commit to do better for the rest of the year.

This important work of reconciliation is not a one-day affair. As we say, it will take us several generations, he said at a national ceremony held in Ottawa on Friday afternoon.

WATCH | Reconciliation 'not a one-day affair,' says Murray Sinclair:

 SharePlayMute0:035:58MiniplayerToggle fullscreenMurray Sinclair, the former chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, says Canada must focus on reconciliation beyond the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

On Sept. 30 and beyond, we must resolve to stand with [survivors and their families], to have their backs — don't leave them to do this work alone, Sinclair said. We need your help, we need your understanding and we need you to ensure that this is forever made a part of Canada's national memory.

Last year, Sept. 30 was made a federal statutory holiday in order to remember children who died while being forced to attend church-run and government-funded residential schools, those who survived the system and made it home, and the families and communities still affected by lasting trauma.

Sinclair said that pausing to reflect is not a radical concept, noting that Canada does so every year for Remembrance Day and did so to honour the death of Queen Elizabeth earlier this month.

On Sept. 30, I am simply asking you to extend the same courtesy that you are used to doing for others, he said.

WATCH | Residential school survivor says reconciliation cannot happen without truth telling:

Residential school survivor says reconciliation cannot happen without truth telling

32 minutes agoDuration4:29Laurie McDonald, a Métis residential school survivor, gives remarks on the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

Friday afternoon's ceremony included musical performances and testimonies from residential school survivors.

The crowd stood as a 50-metre-long memorial cloth bearing 4,100 names of children who did not return from residential schools was presented on the stage.

Métis survivor Laurie McDonald spoke of his experience in residential school as a two-spirited person.

The church told us to put it under the carpet, in their hypocritical mind that was a sin, McDonald said.

I had to go underground with that gift, but I am here, McDonald said. I am Indigenous, but I'm also a two-spirited person and that is a gift, and I will continue because that is part of my healing.

WATCH | Residential school survivor shares poem about his experience:

Residential school survivor shares poem about his experience

1 hour agoDuration6:40Dennis Saddleman reads his poem, 'Monster,' about his eleven years at a residential school in Kamloops, B.C., on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

'Every day is Sept. 30'

In Ottawa, the day started with an eagle feather ceremony on Parliament Hill in front of the Peace Tower, which included a traditional round dance that saw dozens of members from the crowd participate.

Anishinaabe (Algonquin) Elder Claudette Commanda spoke of how the day is a moment for Canadians to listen and reflect on their history.

It's a day for you Canadians to listen, to learn, to understand, to have it in your heart and in your spirit to feel the beauty of Indigenous people, the strength and resilience of survivors, but to learn history, she said.

Reflect on the truth, learn from the past, walk together in peace, understanding and healing. Walk together this journey called reconciliation, she said. Everyday is Sept. 30.

WATCH | Indigenous educator on why this day matters:

The ceremony was followed by a walk to nearby LeBreton Flats Park, where attendees will placed children's footwear on the ground to commemorate those who died in residential schools.

A year after spending the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on vacation in Tofino, B.C. (new window), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended a sunrise ceremony in Niagara Falls, Ont., this morning.

Following the ceremony, Trudeau spoke with residential school survivors and later challenged Canadians to be more accepting of the stories of survivors during an address to the crowd.

How many times do Indigenous peoples need to tell their stories of trauma, of loss, of pain, of grief, until we absorb those stories as non-Indigenous people and make them our own? he said.

They too are the story of Canada and therefore they too are the story of each of us.

WATCH | Next steps 'most important thing,' says Anishinaabe journalist, professor: 

Indigenous educator on why this day matters

6 hours agoDuration2:27Tony Stevenson, an Indigenous educator and member of the Anishinaabe First Nation, explains why National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is important.

The ceremony was followed by a walk to nearby LeBreton Flats Park, where attendees will placed children's footwear on the ground to commemorate those who died in residential schools.

Thousands of young people, mainly from secondary school, attended the show organized by the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation.

Thousands of young people, mainly from secondary school, attended the show organized by the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Grégory Wilson

Anishinaabe (Algonquin) Elder Claudette Commanda spoke of how the day is a moment for Canadians to listen and reflect on their history.

It's a day for you Canadians to listen, to learn, to understand, to have it in your heart and in your spirit to feel the beauty of Indigenous people, the strength and resilience of survivors, but to learn history, she said.

Reflect on the truth, learn from the past, walk together in peace, understanding and healing. Walk together this journey called reconciliation, she said. Everyday is Sept. 30.

The ceremony will be followed by a walk to nearby LeBreton Flats Park, where attendees will lay children's footwear on the ground to commemorate those who died in residential schools. A one-hour commemoration ceremony will take place there in the afternoon.

People listen to a prayer during National Day for Truth and Reconciliation ceremonies in Calgary, Alberta, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.

People listen to a prayer during National Day for Truth and Reconciliation ceremonies in Calgary, Alberta, Friday, Sept. 30, 2022.

Photo: La Presse canadienne / Jeff McIntosh

A year after spending the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on vacation in Tofino, B.C. (new window), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended a sunrise ceremony in Niagara Falls, Ont., this morning. He will later be delivering remarks at a Truth and Reconciliation event in the area, before travelling to Ottawa for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation ceremony.

It is our shared responsibility to confront the legacy of residential schools and the ongoing impacts on Indigenous Peoples, so we can truly move forward together, Trudeau said in a news release.

WATCH | Prime minister speaks at Beyond the Orange Shirt Story event in Niagara:

Prime minister speaks at Beyond the Orange Shirt Story event in Niagara

2 hours agoLIVEPrime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at Beyond the Orange Shirt Story event in Ontario's Niagara region to mark National Truth and Reconciliation Day.

Governor General Mary Simon challenged all Canadians to commit to reconciliation — not just today, but year-round.

I encourage you to start the conversation at school, at work, at home: What will you do, today, tomorrow and every day, to be part of a better Canada, one that reflects us all? she said in a statement.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre attended a sunrise ceremony in Ottawa this morning.

Today, we listen to the survivors, remember those — the children — we lost, and commit to continue walking the path of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous people, he tweeted following the ceremony.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is also attending the ceremony on Parliament Hill.

Darren Major (new window) · CBC News

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