Statement from the Honourable Murray Sinclair on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 2022

Press Release

On September 30, we are reminded, without the advocacy and contributions of Survivors, September 30 would be just another day in the calendar. It is only because of the strength and courage of Survivors that we had a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we now have a National Centre, and today we mark a National Day for this important work.

Survivors lead us to this moment in the journey of reconciliation, when they were on their own personal journeys of healing.

As they continue to seek justice for what took place at the hands of the Government of Canada, the Church, and other actors, I remain grateful for their steadfast commitment to uncovering and giving light to the truth.

When the Commission envisioned a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we had hoped for it to be a day of intention and reflection. It would be for Canadians to take a day out of their lives, to lend our ears and our hearts to Survivors. It would be a day to listen to them, and to resolve to do better in the next 364 days that follow until the next National Day.

Because this important work of reconciliation is not a one-day affair. As we say, it will take seven generations.

So my message to Canadians is this:

Today, and every day, watch and listen to the stories of Survivors, their families, and communities. We must all recognize that the Indian Residential School system is not just something from your history books. It’s something that Indigenous Peoples are still feeling the effects of each and every day.

We are in a constant state of grieving for the families that were broken, for the cultures that were torn apart, and for the children that never made it home.

For non-Indigenous Canadians, I hope that this day — September 30 — will hold an important place in your hearts. This is not a radical concept — to pause and reflect. You do so for other days and occurrences throughout your life quite routinely.

On November 11, you wear your poppy and honour our veterans for Remembrance Day. You pause and reflect on the history of your country — as complicated as it can be. On September 30, I am simply asking you to do the same.

Just as we acknowledged the legacy of Her Majesty the late Queen Elizabeth II — as complicated as it can be. Many governments in Canada were quick to acknowledge and observe a holiday on short notice, but unfortunately still are not fully embracing the meaning of today.

On September 30, I am simply asking you to extend the same courtesy to Survivors that you are used to doing for others.

Yes, your country’s history is complicated. But you don’t make it better by ignoring it or glossing over it. You make it better by helping carry out the calls to action, learning, unlearning, and resolving to do better.

Because this story is not over. Records are still being turned over from Church authorities. Burial sites are still being discovered. And so many Survivors and their families are still seeking closure for what happened to their siblings, cousins, and children.

On September 30 and beyond, resolve to stand with them. Have their backs. Don’t leave them to do this work alone. We need your help.

The Hon Senator (ret.) Murray Sinclair CC, MSC


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