Ombudsman's message for National Day of Truth and reconciliation, September 30, 2023
September 29, 2023
29 September 2023
It is essential that as a province, and as a nation, we continue to recognize the tragic effects of residential schools on the Indigenous children who attended those schools, and on the survivors who continue to live with those experiences.
(September 29, 2023) It is essential that as a province, and as a nation, we continue to recognize the tragic effects of residential schools on the Indigenous children who attended those schools, and on the survivors who continue to live with those experiences.
As part of our commitment to reconciliation, we are providing educational opportunities to help our staff learn more about our shared history and the harms that have been inflicted on Indigenous peoples. We are working to establish mutually respectful relationships with Indigenous people across the province and will continue to incorporate recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls into our work.
September 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, established in 2021 in response to Call to Action #80 from the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
September 30 is also known as “Orange Shirt Day”, a day to publicly recognize the history and legacy of residential schools and to honour the children who never returned home, the survivors, and their communities. The day originated with the story of one former student, Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, who had her new orange shirt taken away from on her first day at the St. Joseph Mission Residential School in British Columbia when she was just six years old.
We will again offer educational sessions for everyone who works in our Office this year. We have invited representatives from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to speak with us on the history of missing Indigenous children, unmarked burials, colonial systems and impacts, and intergenerational trauma. We greatly appreciate their knowledge and time.
To reinforce our commitment to truth and reconciliation, to provide an opportunity for employees to reflect on the history of residential schools, and to honour the lives lost, we will close our Office on Oct. 2 in order to observe the day of commemoration and reflection.