National Day for Truth and
Reconciliation to reflect on the painful
history that Indigenous peoples endured
in residential schools in Canada, and on
the work that remains to heal and to
continue to build an inclusive society"
~Her Majesty the Queen
Truth and Reconciliation, I think back to
how my childhood shaped me. How so
many in our community, and thousands
more Indigenous children across Canada,
were ripped away from their homes,
separated from their families and sent to
residential schools, where they were not
allowed to speak their languages or
honour their cultures, and were punished if they did.
As the child of a white father and an Inuk mother, I was not
allowed to attend. I stayed behind, home-schooled, and
visited families where there was a palpable void. I was a
stand-in, a well-loved substitute, for mothers and fathers
who desperately missed their children.
We all felt it. The sorrow of missing a part of our
Since the launch of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
of Canada and the publication of Calls to Action—and more
recently, with the discoveries of unmarked graves of
residential school children—Canada’s real history has been
laid bare. The legacy of colonization has had devastating
repercussions for Indigenous peoples, including the loss of
language, culture and heritage. This pain has been felt from
generation to generation, and it continues today.
These are uncomfortable truths, and often hard to accept.
But the truth also unites us as a nation, brings us together to
dispel anger and despair, and embrace justice, harmony and
Reconciliation is a way of life, continuous, with no end date.
It is learning from our lived experiences and understanding
one another. It is creating the necessary space for us to heal.
It is planting seeds of hope and respect so that our garden
blooms for our children.
As we strive to acknowledge the horrors of the past, the
suffering inflicted on Indigenous peoples, let us all stand
side-by-side with grace and humility, and work together to
build a better future for all."
~Her Excellency Mary Simon
A Kisaragi Colour