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From: National Defence
29/09/2023 – Ottawa
Lieutenant-General Jocelyn Paul, Commander Canadian Army, and Rob Chambers, Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment), issued the following statement to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day:
Greetings, Kwe, Atelihai, Tawnshi, Uy’ skweyul, Pusu’l,
As co-chairs of the Defence Team Indigenous Affairs Committee, we have the duty, and privilege, to act as advocates for the Defence Team members of Indigenous ancestry.
As part of our roles, we are pleased to invite all of you to join us in recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day, which takes place September 30.
This is a time to reflect on the legacy of the Indian Residential School system. A time to remember the children taken from their homes to be stripped of their cultures.
We mourn those who never returned home.
And we honour the survivors whose memories are an important record to remind us of the terrible legacy behind the intergenerational trauma they and others have suffered.
We recognize the families and communities that suffered all those losses.
September 30 is also a time to consider the present and future.
The Government of Canada is committed and focused on renewing nation-to-nation relationships with Indigenous Peoples and the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are a partner in that work.
We value our Indigenous Defence Team colleagues who do the work of defending and protecting Canada around the world today.
They are the inheritors of a proud history.
Their ancestors guided and formed alliances with the French and British long before Confederation and joined the fight against several American aggressions.
Post-Confederation, they stood up to serve in the World Wars and Korea for a nation that did not offer them equality in return.
With the invaluable guidance of Indigenous colleagues who offer their insight and wisdom, we are responding to the calls to action given to us by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Ensuring the Defence Team is an inclusive, respectful work environment for all is an ongoing effort.
The goal is a relationship with Indigenous Peoples based on a recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.
This is an important process that we can all make meaningful contributions to. Let this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation be the start of your own journey of learning and understanding.
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is an excellent starting point that tells the stories of Indigenous experience past and present, in the words of those who have lived it.
The federal government’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation website has valuable information on the government’s responsibilities as laid out by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the ongoing work we are doing to meet them.
We invite you to take this important journey of learning with us, tomorrow and beyond.
Rob Chambers, Assistant Deputy Minister (Infrastructure and Environment) and Lieutenant-General Jocelyn Paul, Commander Canadian Army and Defence Team Champion for Indigenous Peoples