MKO Statement on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:
Treaty Five Territory, Thompson, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) is acknowledging September 30, 2021, as the first ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day has also been known as Orange Shirt Day for many years.
“September 30 is an important day to remember the Survivors of the residential school system as well as the children who passed away while attending these schools,” said Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “This year more than ever, we have been learning that residential schools are an extremely painful legacy for many Indigenous people throughout Canada. We continue to grapple with the uncovering of unmarked graves at schools across the country, including right here in Manitoba.”
“Tomorrow is an opportunity for dialogue about the practice of removing Indigenous children from their families,” stated Grand Chief Garrison Settee, who is an inter-generational survivor of the residential school system.
“Many people still don’t know very much about residential schools. With this new statutory holiday, I am encouraging people across the Province of Manitoba as well as our entire country to join me in wearing their orange shirts today but more importantly, recognize the need to have an ongoing dialogue on this topic. It’s important that Canadians from all backgrounds, along with newcomers, learn about the impacts of residential schools.”
The residential school system was created to assimilate First Nations, Inuit, and Metis students into the dominant culture of a colonized Canada. Many students experienced horrific abuse and were punished for speaking their Indigenous languages. Young children were separated from their families and communities to attend residential schools across the country.
Earlier this year, the federal government announced it would recognize September 30 as a statutory holiday.
There are many events taking part to honour the children who were forced to attend residential school. In Winnipeg, the Unity Walkers from Fox Lake, Tataskweyak, and York Factory will arrive at the Manitoba legislative building around 11:30 am. Many MKO First Nations have been hosting events. There is also a pow wow at St. John’s Park in Winnipeg, amongst other events.
In Thompson, MKO is taking part of an event called “Honour our Ancestors and Honour our Future: Exhibition Gallery and Walk.” The event starts at 10:30 am at the Legion Hall at 101 Elizabeth Drive in Thompson. The event will include Survivors of residential schools sharing reflections along with a walk of recognition from the Legion to the Residential School Monument reflection space at Lion’s Park. A moment of silence for the children will also be held. Everyone is welcome at this event and public health measures will be observed.
“We are hoping that we can continue to open doors for people who have neither heard nor, had the truth about the residential schools told to them,” shared MKO’s Urban Initiatives Manager Shyanna Lynxleg. “The truth is hard for people to hear; the history that has been taught is incorrect and we want our voices to be heard that we will not forget and that we are here to guide you towards reconciliation with our one voice… we will not forget.”
For more information:
Melanie Ferris, Communications Officer
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak