National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

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This new federal statutory holiday might have left you wondering, “What’s it all about? What are we supposed to do on this day?” And those are fair questions – after all, it’s been almost a decade since a new stat holiday was introduced (Family Day, 2012) and it was pretty easy to guess what that one was all about.

So, to help you recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and what it means, here are some suggestions:

Let’s start by acknowledging that we are living and working within the unceded traditional territory of Yaqan Nukiy within the Ktunaxa Nation. That’s a pretty fundamental part of reconciliation – at the very least, it’s a reminder of the presence of Indigenous peoples in our past and our present.

Here’s an article from Canadian Heritage with some background on the holiday and information on how it’s being commemorated federally.

As for what you can do as an individual to commemorate the day, try something local. The Lower Kootenay Band is holding a memorial at the Lower Kootenay cemetery on Thursday morning. It’s not open to the public due to COVID, but you can watch it live on Zoom or on Facebook Live.

The Ktunaxa Nation has also released this statement on how to honour the day and make personal commitments to reconciliation.

CBC has posted a story with LOTS of ideas for personal acts of reconciliation. There are very good suggestions there, from “learn about the history of residential schools” to “create a family project” and “be an ally.”

Know Indigenous History sent out a special edition of their newsletter with information and resources. Another act you could make towards reconciliation is to sign up for a course in Indigenous history. Here’s a couple suggestions (both free):

BC Museums Association has put together a list of events and activities happening at museums and cultural centres around the province, and many of them are virtual events so you can attend from anywhere (I borrowed the image at the top of this page from their website).

The Creston Museum will be open on Thursday, September 30, from 10:00 until 1:00. Our staff will be watching the Lower Kootenay Band ceremony at 10:00; you are welcome to join us for that as part of your visit. While you visit, we encourage you to think about your place in the community in the context of colonialism and how it affects your relationship with the Ktunaxa nation and other Indigenous nations in Canada. The Ktunaxa nation, in its statement, offers these questions:

  • “Who am I? What is my family history? How did my family come to live where we live?”
  • “What is my relationship to Indigenous peoples? What have I learned about Indigenous peoples? Where have I learned it? How am I undoing any stereotypes or misconceptions I may have been taught?”
  • “What is my responsibility in reconciliation? We all have a responsibility in reconciliation. What are my unique strengths and gifts? How can I use them to contribute to strengthening relations with Indigenous peoples in the territory I live in?”