'More than selfies in an orange T-shirt’: Canadians urge real action on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation


Canada's political leaders have released statement on Friday to mark National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, while many Canadians are stressing that this day should include learning and action by all Canadians.

"Today, we mark the second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – an opportunity to come together to reflect on the legacy of residential schools and the ongoing impacts on Survivors, their families and communities, as well as commit to continuing the hard, but necessary work to build a better future for all," a statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reads. "Between 1831 and 1998, at least 150,000 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children were forcibly removed from their families and communities to attend residential schools, where they had to abandon their languages, cultures, spiritualities, traditions, and identities. Many experienced physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, and thousands never came home."

It is our shared responsibility to confront the legacy of residential schools and the ongoing impacts on Indigenous Peoples, so we can truly move forward together...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.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also release a statement, highlights that this is "a reminder of the harm caused and the work to be done."

“Today, Canadians across the country honour the children who never returned home, Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities," a statement from Singh reads. "We also reflect on our collective history of colonialism and genocide and how it continues to impact Survivors, families and communities today."

"As unmarked graves continue to be uncovered, today is a reminder of the harm caused and the work to be done."

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre shared a message on Twitter that states, "today, we listen to the survivors, remember those - the children - we lost, and commit to continue walking the path of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous people."

Several people have also taken to social media to share how to best honour survivors, families and communities impacted by Canada's residential school system.

The National Residential School Crisis Line offers emotional support and crisis referral services for residential school Survivors and their families. Call the toll-free Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.