September 30th is National Reconciliation Day in Canada. This is a day to reflect on the history and conditions of our indigenous brothers and sisters. It is also a day to recommit to the work of reconciliation. Reconciliation is about righting the wrongs of the past and creating a better future for all Canadians.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was established in 2008 to look into the history and legacy of the Residential School system. The report from the Commission, released in 2015, documents the horrific mistreatment of indigenous children in these schools. It also outlines 94 “calls to action” that need to be taken in order to begin the process of reconciliation.
I have often thought that reconciliation is similar to the struggle that people with developmental disabilities encountered in the past. Both groups have been misunderstood, mistreated and excluded from society. But both groups are also resilient and have so much to offer. Reconciliation is about building relationships based on trust, respect and understanding. It is about making sure that everyone has a seat at the table. And it is about creating a future that is brighter for all of us.
So on this National Reconciliation Day, let us recommit to the work of reconciliation. Let us build bridges instead of walls. And let’s create a Canada that is truly inclusive for all.
One of the most important steps we can take towards reconciliation is educating ourselves and others about the history and experiences of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Why not start today? Below are some resources to get you started:
-The Truth and Reconciliation Commission website (trc.ca) has a wealth of information about the Residential School system and the calls to action.
-The Canadian Encyclopedia (thecanadianencyclopedia.ca) is a great place to start if you want to learn more about Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
– CBC Learn (cbclearn.ca) has a section dedicated to Indigenous Peoples that includes videos, articles, and interactive games & quizzes.
Reconciliation is a long and difficult process, but it is one that we must undertake if we want to create a better future for all Canadians. Education is an important first step. On September 30th, let’s take some time to educate ourselves about the history and experiences of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. And let’s recommit to the hard work of reconciliation.