The federal government is looking ahead and planning for this month’s National Truth and Reconciliation Day events to honour Indigenous people, communities, cultures and traditions across the country, and to raise awareness of the true history and impact of the residential school system.
Ottawa has announced $4 million to support 278 community projects across the country to honour the federal holiday and day of reflection, including at least seven events in northwestern Ontario.
- $10,000 to Bearskin Lake First Nation,
- $10,000 to the Anishinaabeg of Kabapikotawangang Resource Council Inc in Sioux Narrows,
- $10,000 to Grand Council Treaty #3 in Kenora,
- $10,000 to Iskatewizaagegan #39,
- $10,000 to Lac Seul First Nation,
- $10,000 to Mishkeegogamang,
- $10,0000 to Shoal Lake #40,
Last year, the City of Kenora and community partners hosted a massive Truth and Reconciliation feast and pow-wow under the Whitecap Pavilion to celebrate the day, with a walk from the Cecilia Jeffrey Residential School site, traditional drumming and dancing, and opening words from local elders.
No plans for this year’s events have been announced as of yet, but the City indicated in 2021 that they would be working to make the event take place annually.
September 30 is now known as Canada’s day of Truth and Reconciliation, but it began as ‘Orange Shirt Day’. That tradition began after survivor of the St. Joseph Mission residential school, Phyllis Webstad, shared her story in 2013 of having her new orange shirt taken away on her first day at the mission in 1973.
The federal government passed legislation last year to make September 30 a federal statutory holiday, one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of 2015’s Calls to Action.
Ottawa adds that during Truth and Reconciliation Week, from September 26 to 29, a national education program will be offered to all students in grades 1 to 12 in Canada, created by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation based out of Winnipeg.
The centre says over 70 Indigenous youth in the Kenora area died while attending the two local residential schools.