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City of Kamloops Encourages Staff and Residents to Recognize the First National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

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Kamloops BC – The City of Kamloops will be suspending most non-essential services on Thursday, September 30, and encouraging staff to take time to reflect and recognize the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This new federal statutory holiday is a day of observance to acknowledge the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools.

In steps towards more meaningful reconciliation efforts this week, the City of Kamloops posted a formal land acknowledgement on its website along with several pages of content related to reconciliation and the City’s relationship with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (TteS). The TteS flag will fly on the City’s community flagpole at City Hall throughout the week, and new TteS-designed banners will also be installed on street poles throughout the city in October.

The City continues to champion and implement the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action by working with TteS and community partners to advance reconciliation in our community. There is much more work to be done, but the City is committed to learning the truth and leading reconciliation.

“The finding of the missing unmarked graves at residential schools, first in Kamloops and now across the country, has raised awareness about the truth of residential schools,” said Mayor Ken Christian. “It is more important than ever to ensure that education and awareness continues and that we honour residential school survivors and the children who did not go home.”

Ways for residents to observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

The City encourages all residents to reflect upon and honour those who were lost, those who survived, and those who continue to grieve. The following are suggestions for ways to observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:

  1. Wear an orange shirt on September 30
    The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation replaces Orange Shirt Day. Raise awareness and start a conversation by wearing an orange shirt and talking about the history of residential schools and reconciliation.
  2. Join TteS virtually at 2:15 pm
    TteS is hosting a virtual event at 2:15 pm on September 30 to drum and sing for the missing children of Indian Residential Schools. Participants from all over the world are invited to observe and to learn the Secwepemc Honour Song in advance in order to join in from home.
  3. Watch other virtual events online with family
    The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has virtual events scheduled throughout the week of September 27 that are geared towards educators of school-aged children. Members of the public can also register to participate. Visit NCTR.ca/Education/TRW to learn about the week-long program and how to register.
  4. Learn the stories of survivors
    Orange Shirt Day is based on Phyllis Webstad’s story of having her orange shirt removed and replaced with a school uniform. Watch Phyllis’ presentation on YouTube. Her story is available online to read with family or children. Residents can also listen and read about the residential school experience of Chief Robert Joseph, OC, OBC, on the Indigenous Corporate Training blog here.
  5. Get familiar with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action
    In 2015, to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation, the TRC presented an executive summary of their finding, which contained 94 specific Calls to Action. These action items outline specific ways that governments, institutions, and everyday Canadians can take meaningful steps towards reconciliation.
  6. Share these resources with friend and family

Support is available for anyone affected by the traumatic legacy of residential schools and those who are triggered by the latest reports and recoveries. The Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) can be contacted toll free at 1-800-721-0066. A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.