By Rebecca Jacobs, Posted on September 27, 2021
Thursday, September 30th, is the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families, and their communities.
Reconciliation is a complex process. It means Indigenous history education for all. It means food and land security, clean drinking water, and basic human rights in Indigenous communities. It is an acknowledgement of the intergenerational trauma caused by residential schools, and the disproportionate impact on Indigenous lives and livelihoods caused by the climate crisis. It is implementing the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation report.
Reconciliation will require more than a national holiday. For settlers, it is vital to do the work to dismantle colonialism in this country and help to reconcile the damage done.
“Let us find a way to belong to this time and place together. Our future, and the well-being of all our children, rests with the kind of relationships we build today.”
– Chief Dr. Robert Joseph
At Community Forests International, our team will be taking the week and the day to focus on our internal work, learning, and strategies on how we can best uplift and further Indigenous partnerships, solidarity, and land-based reconciliation efforts. Members of our team are also marking National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by donating their wages from the day. To learn why, visit the newly launched One Day’s Pay initiative.
We encourage settlers in our wider community to use the day to continue educating themselves and to give back to Indigenous-led movements, organizations, or nations. Attend an event in your community or virtually, read the Truth and Reconciliation Report, listen to the voices of Indigenous Peoples through storytelling. And continue learning and taking action after this day is over.
Former Residential School students can call 1-866-925-4419 for emotional crisis referral services and information on other health supports. Indigenous peoples across Canada can also go to The Hope for Wellness Help Line or chat services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for counselling and crisis intervention.
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Reports and Calls to Action.
- National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Imagine a Canada, Decolonizing Lens, and NCTR Dialogues.
- Read 21 Things You May Not Have Know About the Indian Act by Bob Joseph.
- Review The Yellowhead Institute’s Calls to Action on Accountability: A 2020 Status Update on Reconciliation and their 5×5 Review: How do we Solve Structural Racism?
- Browse the Wolastoqey Nation’s Ally Toolkit.
- Search this interactive map to learn which Indigenous groups’ traditional territories you live on, what languages have been spoken there, and what treaties apply to your area.
- Read “Whose Land Is It Anyway? A Manual For Decolonization” by Peter McFarlane and Nicole Schabus.
We recognize that the land and forests we work to protect are located in the traditional and unceded territories of the Wolastoqiyik and Mi’kmaq Peoples. These territories are covered by the “Treaties of Peace and Friendship” which Wolastoqiyik and Mi’kmaq Peoples first signed with the British Crown in 1725. The treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources but in fact recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations. We are all Treaty people.