Monday, September 27, 2021

SD52 providing for the early focus for Prince Rupert as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation nears

The Cenotaph at the Prince Rupert Court House has served as
the community focal point for the commemoration of the recent
discovery of the bodies and in solidarity of those who
attended Residential schools across Canada 

This Thursday marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the day declared a Statutory Holiday by the Federal Government one year ago, set to take effect this year, with the focus one to be for Canadians to revisit the nations history and learn from it to work in partnership with Indigenous peoples on the path forward.

As part of their information relay in the lead up to Thursday, the Federal government has provided links to a range of resources  for Canadians to review as part of the observation of the day, 

A good portion of the focus on the path forward has come from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which delivered its final report to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in December of 2015, the Calls to Action forming a road map of sorts as to how the process should move forward, though many of the recommendations have still to be addressed by all levels of Government across the nation.

You can review the document here.

Provincially, the BC Government noted of the importance of this month and what Thursday will bring through it's own information release in early August, noting of how the statutory holiday will be shared by many provincial employees, with the government issuing it's own guidance towards the observation of the day.

“Our government is calling on all of us who deliver services to the public to use this opportunity to consider what each of us can do as individuals to advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and to recommit to understanding the truth of our shared history, to accept and learn from it and in doing so, help to create a better, more inclusive British Columbia.”

So far the City of Prince Rupert has not outlined any special information or plans for Thursday, with the School District for the most part taking the lead locally to this point when it comes to information sharing on their ongoing work and that of the community towards Reconciliation.

As we outlined last week, the School District recently hosted a Blessing of the the Banners ceremony, with the new banners to be on display at all of the District's Schools. The School District shared some of the moments of that ceremony through their Social media feed last week.

With Thursday now a day for National reflection, The Prince Rupert School District, Coast Community College and other organizations will all be observing Orange Shirt Day on Wednesday, Orange Shirt Day and its theme of Every Child Matters is now a fixture across the province and nation as a way of recognizing the Residential School System of the past and a way to commemorate those who died at those facilities and those who survived that chapter of Canadian History.

The Day was an initiative of Ms. Phyllis Webstad,  a survivor of the former St. Joseph's Mission residential school near Williams Lake; it was through her commitment that September 30th first became the day of  reflection on the Residential School period and how has become a National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. 

Last week the Provincial Government noted of a special event at BC Place as the British Columbia Lions hosted an event to observe Orange Shirt Day and celebrate the the dedication of Ms. Webstad to getting her message to British Columbians.

The School District has a strong selection of resource material to explore towards the goals of reconciliation which you can find from the Way Sigatgyet page of the SD52 website.

The Prince Rupert and District Teachers Union also hosts a wide range of information towards the themes of Truth and Reconciliation, which you can explore here.

Another event of note this week, is one hosted by the Prince Rupert Friendship House, which is asking the community to join them in a Community Walk at the Jim Ciccone, Civic Centre Track from 1 to 5PM on Thursday

They have goal of 215 Laps in honour of the Indigenous children who were sent away to  Residential schools.

As more items of note come up in the lead up to Thursday, we will add them to our page below, to provide a reference of the plans of the Community for the day.

Items of Note on National and Provincial themes to the day can be reviewed from our Ottawa Observations feature of our political blog D'Arcy McGee.

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