Taking care: We recognize this statement may contain information that is difficult for many and that our efforts to honour Survivors and families may act as an unwelcome reminder for those who have suffered hardships through generations of government policies that were harmful to Indigenous Peoples.
The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line offers emotional support and crisis referral services for residential school Survivors and their families. Call the toll-free crisis line at 1-866-925-4419. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Hope for Wellness Help Line also offers support to all Indigenous Peoples. Counsellors are available by phone or online chat. This service is available in English and French, and, upon request, in Cree, Ojibway, and Inuktitut. Call the toll-free Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online chat at www.hopeforwellness.ca.
Ottawa, Ontario (September 30, 2022) – The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations; the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services; the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs; and the Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage, issued the following statement to commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:
“On this second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we honour and remember the children who never returned home, and the Survivors and their families forever impacted by the trauma of these horrific institutions. We honour the courage of those who are speaking out, many for the first time, and those who continue to suffer in silence. This is a day of reflection, of understanding and of compassion where Indigenous voices are the ones that must be heard. It is a day of action and learning, with many events, activities, and ceremonies organized in communities across the country.
We must work faster and harder to address the harms and intergenerational trauma caused by Canada’s colonial legacy. The locating of unmarked graves at former residential schools shocked and saddened Canadians, as it marked the first time many faced this stark truth. For Indigenous Peoples across the country, it brought back painful memories as many have shared their stories for decades only to be ignored.
Now, Canadians are pressing forward on an important conversation – one in which we acknowledge historical injustices and their ongoing impacts, and support the efforts of communities as we work together toward healing and reconciliation.
These conversations are not easy, and healing will take time. Under the leadership of Survivors, their families and communities, our government will continue working in partnership to support their efforts at their pace.
While we remain committed to the work ahead, significant steps have been made to date. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission also called upon the Parliament of Canada to establish a National Council for Reconciliation. In response, on June 22nd we introduced Bill C-29 to establish the National Council for Reconciliation as an Indigenous-led, independent, permanent and non-political body. The Council is intended to monitor long-term progress on reconciliation in Canada, and evaluate and report on the implementation of all 94 Calls to Action. For years, Indigenous leaders have called for greater accountability, transparency, and a way to hold Canada to account for its role in reconciliation. Bill C-29 will do just that.
This summer, after years of advocacy by First Nations, Inuit and Métis leadership, youth and Survivors, Pope Francis visited Canada and offered an apology on behalf of members of the Roman Catholic Church for their role in the abuse of Indigenous children at residential schools.
On August 29th, our government joined the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, Survivors and Elders to raise The Survivors’ Flag on Parliament Hill. The flag honours Survivors, their families, the communities whose lives were forever changed, and those who never came home. It represents our commitment and responsibility to advance reconciliation and the ongoing search for truth.
This National Day for Truth and Reconciliation reminds us that advancing reconciliation is a collective responsibility that involves every one of us, every order of government, every organization, including the private sector. Together we will build a brighter future, and a more just future, for Indigenous Peoples and for all Canadians.