National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

The City of Duncan joins many other communities across Canada for the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. 

As defined by the Government of Canada, this day honours lost Indigenous children and survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities. It is a day for national reflection on the historic legacy and present-day consequences of residential schools, which is critical to reconciliation.  The day honours the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. 

Removing children from their families and forcing them to attend residential schools was a Canadian government policy recognized by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as an attempt at cultural genocide. 

From 1831 until the last residential school closed in 1996, more than 150,000 Indigenous children attended residential schools across Canada with the last school on Vancouver Island, Kuper Indian Residential School, closing in 1980. Many children never returned home. In May of 2021, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc uncovered 215 unmarked graves and since, many, many more of these graves have been identified at residential schools, a number that will continue to rise as former sites are searched. 

“Our responsibility is to take the time to truly listen, to hear with more than our ears,” states Mayor Michelle Staples. “We must learn to hear with our hearts, only then can we begin to understand and work towards making reconciliation a reality.” 

The City of Duncan has been honoured to work under the leadership of Ma’kola Housing and Cowichan Tribes and with other community partners for the September 30th “Every Child Matters Walk” to honour the children who attended residential schools, their families, and survivors. 

City Hall will continue to be lit up in orange lights as it has since May, and a memorial will be set up at City Square Stage beginning the morning of September 30th, where it will remain for 2 weeks for people to add messages, items and prayers for the children who never made it back home. 

Michelle Staples,
City of Duncan