Iqaluit remembers: ‘It’s their strength – that’s why we’re here’

Ceremony marks National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Iqalummiut participated in a commemoration walk for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Iqaluit on Sept. 30. (Photo by Meral Jamal)

By Meral Jamal

Iqalummiut gathered to honour the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30.

Meant to recognize the tragic legacy of the residential school system — in which an estimated 150,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend between the 1830s and early 1990s after being taken from their families — the day is designated a statutory holiday in Nunavut.

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association hosted a walk from the Igluvut Building to Iqaluit Square to recognize and pay respects to Indigenous survivors of residential schools, their families and communities from across the country.

On what was a cold, wet, snowy day in Iqaluit, the ceremony included a moment of silence for victims of the residential school system as well as a community parlak, or candy toss.

“Today is really the reflection of the pain that people felt through residential schools,” Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok told the crowd.

“And I want to thank the survivors that are here with us, such as Jack Anawak [who was a flag bearer for the walk]. It is through their resilience that we are here today. And I think it’s important to acknowledge although it was a difficult moment in our history, it’s their strength — that’s why we’re here.”

The gathering lasted for about an hour, and orange T-shirts were distributed to help mark the day, which is also known as Orange Shirt Day in tribute to the children who were lost or harmed at the schools.

Sen. Dennis Patterson, who also attended, said the day “is a path to reconciliation.”

“This is what it means to me — getting Canada to understand what happened and support efforts to move forward positively with new beginnings, new respect, new hope.”





  • Hundreds of Iqalummiut walked from the Igluvut building to the Iqaluit square as part of the city's commemoration of the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30.



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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by Nauseated Cynic on

    This where the class of Iqaluit residents who are screwing over everyone else with their incompetence, hubris and self interest ritually drape themselves in the colours of piety and laud themselves as concerned reconciliators while bleeding the place dry.

    • Posted by Leave the Rest Behind on

      Iqaluit is no longer an Inuit community. Inuit are no longer the absolute majority population. And yet it is the representative city of a territory it no longer represents.
      Yellowknife 2.0.

    • Posted by Perfunctory performance artists on

      You’re observations might not be wrong, but to be fair they are acting in the exact way that is expected of them.

    • Posted by Tinman on

      I don’t see that at all. I see a diverse group of people that have taken time out of their day to show support for something that they believe in. I see people that want change, and I think that’s a good thing. Hubris? Not sure how you even get that, but then again, you’re not exactly a ray of sunshine, are you?

  2. Posted by Reconciling and remembering on

    I think that the Day for TRC is important regardless if some of us attended the Catholic Church run schools or not. We have been affected. Many of us did not attend Residential Schools in Baffin because we are not Catholic. Many young adults attended the Churchill Vocational Schooll but then there are the Federal Day Schools we attended were also traumatizing for many. Look at the social conditions of our communities. The one day to recognize and acknowledge history as Canadians and we all know it takes working together to make changes in all areas of governments, public organizations and services to making Canada a place where children and all are treated with dignity and respect.

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