Settlers’ Time to Act
Marking September 30th as the National Day for Truth & Reconciliation is an important part of the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter’s reconciliation journey. We encourage all staff, volunteers, and members to mark the day by taking time for learning and committing to actions that will bring about healing and hope.
The National Day for Truth & Reconciliation honours the children who never returned home and Survivors of residential schools, as well as their families and communities. Residential schools operated in Canada between the 1870s and the 1990s. The last residential school closed in 1996. Many Survivors of residential schools are still alive today, which is a reminder that our reconciliation efforts have a long way to go and that this is a current issue, not a historical one.
You can learn more about residential schools in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s report “The Survivors Speak”. The stories shared by Survivors are heart-wrenching and maddening. Howard Stacy Jones said he was taken without his parents’ knowledge from a public school in Port Renfrew, British Columbia, to the Kuper Island school:
“I was kidnapped from Port Renfrew’s elementary school when I was around six years old, and this happened right in the elementary schoolyard. And my auntie witnessed this and another non-Native witnessed this, and they are still alive as I speak. These are two witnesses trying, saw me fighting, trying to get away with, from the two RCMP officers that threw me in the back seat of the car and drove off with me. And my mom didn’t know where I was for three days, frantically stressed out and worried about where I was, and she finally found out that I was in Kuper Island residential school.”
As of July 2022, more than 1,800 confirmed or suspected unmarked graves have been identified at residential school sites across Canada. Yet, as of April 2022, only 15 out of the 139 residential school sites have been searched. Unfortunately, the 2022 federal budget does not provide sufficient funding to follow through on the government’s promise.
For those who are unaware, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation began because of call to action #80 in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action, but from 2015-2021, only 13 out of the 94 Calls to Action were enacted.
If you are looking to mark National Day for Truth & Reconciliation, you can find further information and educational options at:
- The Orange Shirt Day website
- The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
- Sharon Redsky, 2018 AFP Fellow Member’s AFP Fellowship Project – Philanthropic Sector & Truth and Reconciliation
- CharityVillage Connects: Indigenous Leaders Discuss Truth and Reconciliation in the Nonprofit Sector
- University of Alberta’s free Coursera course called Indigenous Canada. The 12 lesson course explores historical and contemporary perspectives of Indigenous people living in Canada.
- The Crisis and Trauma Resource Institute (CTRI) offers a video series called Spirit Guide Teachers, which was developed by Traditional Elder Louise McKay and CTRI.
- Summary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action
- Creed and Human Rights for Indigenous Peoples
- The On Canada Project – Settler’s Take Action
As a Chapter built with a vision “to stimulate a world of generosity and positive social good through fundraising best practice”, our members strive to make the world a better place with empathy, compassion, and care.
So, if you are a non-Indigenous person, please remember (beyond September 30th) to continue to amplify and support Indigenous-led initiatives and causes as the government falls short of its promises.
If you or someone you love is affected and needs support, please call The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419.