Political leaders reflected on the importance of the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, remarking that the day is meant for conversation and action. Clockwise from top left: Gov. Gen. Mary Simon, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller, Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (File photos by Jeff Pelletier, David Venn)

Truth and reconciliation day no time ‘to brag’ about accomplishments: Minister

Sept. 30 a time for reflection, activism, say political leaders

By Nunatsiaq News

On the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller said the day isn’t an opportunity for politicians to boast about what they’ve done for reconciliation.

“This isn’t a day for our government to brag about the work that has been accomplished in a few short years,” Miller tweeted on Friday.

“As it was last year, this is a day of reflection, of understanding and of compassion where Indigenous voices are the ones that must be heard.”

Sept. 30 was established as a federal holiday to recognize the harm done to Indigenous individuals and families by Canada’s residential school system.

Miller said reconciliation means different things to different people and “it isn’t always linear and it certainly isn’t free, but it must always start with the truth.”

Federal, provincial and municipal governments, but also private actors like universities, businesses and individuals, all have an important role to play, he said.

Other political leaders also issued statements Friday, also known as Orange Shirt Day across the country.

“Today is an important day, not just for Indigenous peoples, but for all Canadians,” said Gov. Gen. Mary Simon who was born in Nunavik and is the first Indigenous person to hold that position.

“[It] is a day to reflect and to remind ourselves that when we acknowledge truth, listen to one another, and work together, we can build a more prosperous country where all of us have equal access to services and opportunities.

“Of course, Canada has more work to do. Reconciliation is committing ourselves to ongoing understanding and respect. It is remembering the pain caused by residential schools and the children who never made it home.

“But it is also celebrating joyful cultural expressions. Because this day is a mixture of every emotion, just like life itself.”

Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok, who will participate in events marking the day in Iqaluit, said the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is for some, a day of mourning.

“To others, it is a day of quiet reflection,” he said.

“Some will feel it is a day for conversation, while others will use this as a day of activism and expression.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the day an opportunity “for all Canadians to learn more, honour the survivors of residential schools, their families, and their communities, and remember the many children who never returned home.”

“Reconciliation is not the responsibility of Indigenous Peoples – it is the responsibility of all Canadians. It is our responsibility to continue to listen and to learn,” he said.

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(10) Comments:

  1. Posted by Umingmak on

    This is the same federal government and prime minister that ran in 2015 with a promise to end all water advisories on First Nations in Canada before the end of their first term. They have since campaigned on this same promise for the past two elections. It’s been 7 years and they haven’t even come close to fulfilling this promise.

    This is the same federal government taking Indian Day School survivors to court to prevent them from receiving any kind of compensation for their suffering.

    Nobody should take anything that this government or prime minister say seriously. They use us as a tool to get elected, and then instantly pretend that we don’t even exist.

    • Posted by iThink on

      A problem many progressives display is an unserious idealism unburdened by the complexities of the world around them.

      Similarly, 2015 was the be our last election under the ‘first past the post’ system, also quickly abandoned when the difficulties of that project (which should still be pursued) pierced the sunny days and easy ways of PM’s magical dream world.

      This, of course, is no excuse for the disgraceful practice of feigning commitment to causes that matter to people, especially for political gain.

      Note the irony in the inevitable production of cynicism that follows from the misuse of otherwise appropriate ‘ideals.’

    • Posted by John K on

      I’ll get downvoted for this because we live in a post-fact world and everyone has already made up their minds.

      Justin Trudeau has closed more than double the number of water advisories in indigenous communities than any one of his predecessors.

      I didn’t vote for him but I definitely use his mandate as an example of why I would NEVER run for public office at any level.

      Damned if you do

      • Posted by Let’s make a deal? on

        Thumbs up for evidence?

        • Posted by Leave it to Beaver on

          “Ending long-term drinking water advisories” on Indigenous Services Canada’s website, updated September 15, 2022:
          67 long-term drinking water advisories added since November 2015
          135 long-term drinking water advisories lifted since November 2015.
          Net 68 long-term drinking water advisories fewer than November 2015.
          32 long-term drinking water advisories remain in effect in 28 communities.
          I don’t really like Trudeau, but this information is rarely shared and is overall good news. Sure they didn’t make their commitment deadline, but they’ve been making good progress.

  2. Posted by Walter Alison on

    The current liberal government has done nothing that they could brag about.

  3. Posted by reality check on

    No point bragging about the fact that, according to the most recent Census, social housing units in Nunavut became MORE crowded between 2016 and 2021 — while crowding decreased somewhat for Indigenous peoples nation-wide.

    • Posted by double dip of reality on

      Perhaps you also have some statistics on the birth rates of Inuit versus Indigenous peoples nationwide?

      • Posted by I DO, I DO on

        For instance, in 2016 there were 8,410 women in Nunavut aged 15-44. There were also approximately 876 births in Nunavut that year. Which means more than 1 in 10 women aged 15-44 had a kid that year.
        I also have another statistic which shows that from the period of July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, there were 847 births in Nunavut and 179 deaths. The GN better get ready, because I don’t think NHC is building enough new homes to house 668 new people every year, not even counting all the Southern hires they need to house when they bring them up.

  4. Posted by D on

    I often don’t agree with the policies of the federal government. But to see the millions and millions that come out the Federal Governmnets coffers. Going into all the different programs here in Nunavut.
    Much of it being wasted, and having no impact. On the problems it was ment to be spent on. I for one am very grateful for the money we do receive. Nunavut is at mercy of the money that feds give us.
    With out the money our society would be much worse off.

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