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September 12, 2023
TREATY 1 TERRITORY, WINNIPEG, Man. — In honour of the third annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (NDTR), APTN, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) and the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation will join forces to produce a 90-minute multilingual commemoration. The gathering will be broadcast live across the country from Parliament Hill, on the unceded, unsurrendered territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation.
The commemoration, entitled Remembering the Children, is supported by Canadian Heritage and seeks to honour residential school Survivors, pay tribute to the children who never made it home, and deliver a safe and nurturing environment for reconciliation and healing. This year’s gathering will begin with a procession to place the eagle staff and the NCTR’s Bentwood Box on stage, will encompass powerful reflections from esteemed Elders and Survivors, including Claudette Commanda, Dr. Evan Adams and Dr. Levinia Brown and will feature moving performances by First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists such as Aysanabee, Willows, Alicia Kayley and more.
“National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an opportunity for all of us, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to come together in a spirit of healing and understanding,” said APTN CEO Monika Ille. “Remembering the Children offers us an opportunity to honour our shared history, celebrate resilience and work towards a future where every voice is heard, and every story matters.”
“Remembering the Children is where we come together to honour residential school Survivors and the little ones who never came home,” said Stephanie Scott, Executive Director for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. “This commemoration is our time to reflect collectively as a nation as we listen to the Elders and Survivors who are sharing their oral histories and their healing journeys. Only then can we truly begin to walk the path of reconciliation together.”
Hosted by Charles Bender and Madeleine Allakariallak, Remembering the Children will include dialogue in English, French and Indigenous languages. The live gathering will be broadcast on all APTN channels and made available to all Canadian broadcasters to ensure that audiences across the country can tune in and join us on the collective journey towards reconciliation. Participating networks include AMI-tv, Blue Ant Media, The Canadian Press, CBC, CHCH TV, Citytv, CPAC, CTV, CTVNews.ca, CTV News app, Global News, Hollywood Suite, Inuit TV, Knowledge Network, OutTV, Radio-Canada, Super Channel, TV5 and Uvagut TV.
“On this day of remembrance and reflection, I encourage everyone to join me in reaffirming our commitment to be part of the healing process, and to listen to and amplify First Nations, Inuit and Métis voices and stories. This commemorative gathering allows us to honour the memory of those who never returned home, the Survivors, their families and their communities. It also inspires us to continue learning and to keep moving forward on the path of Reconciliation.”
— The Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Canadian Heritage
The public is invited to attend the gathering on September 30 at 1 p.m. ET on Parliament Hill, and attendees are encouraged to bring a pair of traditional shoes to place at the front of the stage in honour of all the Indigenous children who have gone missing. After the event, the footwear will be donated to charity.
For those who are unable to watch or participate on the day of, the broadcast will be available for streaming on APTN lumi on October 2. In addition, APTN will broadcast a full weekend of special programming to honour residential school Survivors, their families and their communities. This programming, which will feature a range of educational shows and documentaries, will begin on September 30 and will air across all APTN channels.
Visit www.aptntv.ca/ndtr for specific showtimes and more information.
– 30 –
NDTR: A CALL TO ACTION
The idea of a federally recognized holiday dedicated to reconciliation was originally proposed in 2015 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) as part of their 94 Calls to Action. In Call to Action #80, the TRC called upon the federal government, in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples, to establish a statutory holiday “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.” NDTR is a day to reaffirm to Survivors and all those who have been affected by the residential school system, that they matter and they will never be forgotten.
SIGNIFICANCE AND EVOLUTION OF SEPTEMBER 30
NDTR takes place annually on September 30. This date was chosen because it is the time of year when children were taken from their homes and forced to go to residential schools. The timing also presents an opportunity to set the stage for anti-racism and anti-bullying policies for the upcoming school year. It encourages Indigenous Peoples, local governments, schools and communities to come together and create a more equitable world for future generations.
Since 2013, September 30 has been observed as Orange Shirt Day, a movement to recognize the colonial legacy of residential schools and commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation. Orange Shirt Day recalls the experience of residential school Survivor Phyllis Webstad, who at age six was stripped of her brand-new orange shirt on her first day attending the St. Joseph Mission Residential School near Williams Lake, B.C.
Residential schools were government-sponsored Christian schools that were established to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture. Although the first residential facilities were established in the early 1600s, the term usually refers to schools established after 1880, as this is when they began to receive funding from the federal government. Residential schools permanently disrupted lives and communities, creating intergenerational traumas that continue to impact Indigenous Peoples today. The last residential school closed in 1996.
The NCTR is a place of learning and dialogue where the truths of the residential school experience will be honoured and kept safe for future generations. The NCTR was created as part of the mandate of the TRC. The TRC was charged to listen to Survivors, their families, communities and others affected by the residential school system and educate Canadians about their experiences. The resulting collection of statements, documents and other materials now forms the sacred heart of the NCTR.
The NCTR’s Bentwood Box contains symbolic items from across the country and serves as a tribute to residential school Survivors and their experiences.
APTN launched in 1999 as the first national Indigenous broadcaster in the world. Since then, the network has become a global leader in programming that celebrates the rich diversity of Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island and beyond. A respected non-profit and charitable broadcaster, APTN shares authentic stories in English, French and a variety of Indigenous languages with nearly 10 million Canadian households. APTN proudly features over 80% Canadian content and inspires audiences via multiple platforms, including its Indigenous-focused streaming service, APTN lumi.
Manager of Communications, APTN
Director, Communications and Digital Strategy, NCTR
Senior Consultant, Media Profile