Across Canada, on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, people will have a chance to stop and reflect. This National Day was established six years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada issued 94 Calls to Action. Number 80 calls “upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.” (Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Volume 1: Summary, page 334). The subtitle of the Volume is “Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future”.
The citizens and institutions of Canada have a wide range of understanding and recognition of what it means to be a colonizing country – historically and currently. September 30th seeks to deepen Canadians’ understanding of what it has meant for far too many Indigenous families to have to live with having their children taken away, often brutalized, and stripped of their language and culture. The impact on those individual children and on their families and communities is profound and horrific.
The Calls to Action includes 93 other actions that address the myriad steps that need to be taken to both confront the truth of Canada as a colonizing country, and to address the wrongs. Land is at the centre of many of those wrongs. Here in British Columbia, most of the land was never ceded. To confront the truth of that is to recognize that our fee simple approach to land ownership is contrary, at best, to the governance structures of the people who have lived here and stewarded the lands and waters since time immemorial.
The Food Policy Council scheduled a meeting for September 30th, long before it was announced as a National Day. We encourage everyone to take time on that day to read and reflect on the Calls to Action of the Commission. And we also invite you to join our meeting and come on a wondrous journey with us as we listen to Nasookin Joe Pierre tell the Ktunaxa Creation Story, grounding us in the land and waters of the region in which we are so privileged to live.