He spoke about the "painful and lasting impacts of residential schools in Canada."
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On September 30 — Canada's first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement addressing the "painful and lasting impacts of residential schools in Canada."
"Today, I invite everyone across the country to recognize and observe the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation," he said. Trudeau described it as a day to reflect on Canada's history and to "remember the many children who never returned home."
In the statement, he acknowledged that at least 150,000 Indigenous children from across the country were forcibly separated from their families and communities and taken to residential schools. There, many "experienced abuse and were removed from their cultures, languages, and traditions."
On this first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we reflect on the lasting impacts of residential schools. We honour survivors and their families. We remember the children who never made it home. And we reaffirm our commitment to advancing reconciliation in concrete ways.— Justin Trudeau (@Justin Trudeau) 1633003305
Trudeau went on to recognize the unmarked graves discovered at multiple former residential school sites in 2021.
"This year, the tragic locating of unmarked graves at former residential school sites across the country has reminded us of not only the impacts of colonialism and the harsh realities of our collective past, but also the work that is paramount to advancing reconciliation in Canada," he said.
Following calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, September 30 became Canada's official National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The commission had called for a day that publicly commemorates the history and legacy of residential schools as a key part of the reconciliation process and to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis survivors, their families and their communities.
It is now a stat holiday for federal government employees and federally regulated workplaces in Canada, as well as in many provinces.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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