JIBC campuses closed Sept. 30 for NDTR acknowledging impacts of residential school system and need to reflect on healing and education
To the JIBC Community,
Today, on the eve of September 30, the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we write to acknowledge the horrors of the Canadian residential school system and to provide suggestions for how we might all be involved in healing and education.
According to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, for more than 150 years “First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation children were taken from their families and communities to attend schools which were often located far from their homes.”
This year, Canadians have more publicly learned Truths about Canada’s colonial history and the crimes and atrocities of the residential school system.
Since May 2021, the reported number of burials on residential institute grounds is approximately 6,509. In context, if a flag were lowered to half-mast for every child’s burial identified to date, that flag would be lowered for 17 years.
The Justice Institute of British Columbia acknowledges the federal and provincial governments' steps towards the active advancement of Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation. This day represents Canada's moral obligation to honour and remember Survivors of residential schools and those who did not make it home and its responsibility towards Redress and Reconciliation efforts. It is upon us all to engage. While this work requires a deliberate, ongoing process not bound by day or time, September 30 is a day to listen, learn, reflect, and act and ultimately be an active agent in change towards a stronger, more inclusive, and just Canada.
To wear orange is a visible reminder to all that Indigenous children matter; so is flying our Every Child Matters flag September 27-October 1.
We are grateful to have the wisdom and experience of our Elders-In-Residence to help us act and engage in meaningful ways. We have shared their thoughts on observing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation through our social media channels for the past week. We provide them all to you now so that you may, too, benefit from their knowledges. Thank you for listening, reflecting, and passing on their teachings for September 30 – and every day.
We mourn together with everyone from across the four corners of our country. We commit to ReconciliAction!
Dr. Michel Tarko
JIBC President and CEO
Jason La Rochelle
Director, Office of Indigenization