This Thursday 30 September 2021, Canadians will observe the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. According to the Government of Canada’s website, “The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process”.
At the centre of this painful history, both on and off record, is the residential school system that spanned for over 150 years, transcending Canada’s regime changes from colony to nationhood. Although the last residential school closed in 1998, the lasting impacts are still evident in Survivors and through intergenerational trauma. Even the most tangible efforts of reconciliation cannot immediately close the ruptures of linguistic, socioeconomic, and political inequities caused and reinforced by centuries of systemic oppression. This is especially poignant as those who were missing, unnamed, and stolen are found and continue to be searched for.
On this day, just like on all other days, it is important to amplify the voices of Indigenous peoples, past, present, and future, of these lands by respecting and learning about Indigenous knowledge and lived experiences. Let us not reduce reconciliation to performative virtue signalling and always remember that behind all true social progress is diligent personal accountability.
This year’s standout fiction and non-fiction books on Indigeneity, land rights, and Reconciliation in Canada:
Have you signed up for this year’s BCMA conference? Spread out over a month into four main themes, the conversations and connections will be robust. The only thing that’s missing is you! Bursaries are available to receive free registration!