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Sep 30, 2023
(Ottawa, Unceded Algonquin Territory, Ontario) – Today, the Interim Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief, Joanna Bernard, is acknowledging the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day, and urging the Government of Canada to advance progress towards fully implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) 94 Calls to Action.
“Today, we remember and honour the thousands of First Nations children, Survivors, and intergenerational Survivors who were taken from their homes, separated from their families, and subjected to abuse in Canada’s residential school system,” stated National Chief Joanna Bernard. “Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity for all Canadians to wear an orange shirt in solidarity with Survivors and to commit to learning, understanding, and acknowledging past injustices, the resilience of First Nations communities, and the need for collective healing.”
“We must never lose sight of the fact that Residential Schools were not educational institutions, but rather tools of assimilation and racism designed to forcibly remove First Nations children from their families and erase their languages, cultural ties, and identities. Despite this, we are still here and building our communities to be healthy and vibrant once again.”
In 2015, the TRC released its Final Report, outlining 94 Calls to Action and 10 Principles for Reconciliation, urging all levels of government to work together to readdress the harm caused by residential schools and advance reconciliation. Eight years later, First Nations continue to express concerns over the delayed full implementation of the 94 Calls to Action, with only 13 calls having been completed.
“Reconciliation is an ongoing process of establishing and maintaining respectful relationships. Part of this work includes taking concrete actions to advance the implementation of the TRC Calls to Action. While we have seen progress, with the completion of Calls to Action 49, 67, and 70 in the past year, there remains an urgent need to accelerate efforts to implement the remaining Calls to Action. We call upon the government to advance its efforts in the implementation of the Calls to Action, as this is an essential step towards reconciliation.
Today, I encourage all Canadians to wear orange to honour the Survivors, their families, and their communities and to participate in the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. By reflecting on Canada’s shared history and the enduring impacts of residential schools and engaging in events and activities, each of us can contribute to reconciliation and work towards building a more just, equitable, and compassionate society for all.”
The AFN encourages individuals, communities, and organizations nationwide to participate in events and activities that promote awareness, education, and reflection on the history and legacy of residential schools. Follow the AFN on social media for information on events and resources dedicated to acknowledging the legacy and history of Canada’s Indian Residential School System.
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern.
Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates
Assembly of First Nations