The City of North Vancouver has officially declared September 30 as a statutory holiday for National Truth and Reconciliation Day following a Special Council meeting on September 8.
This year, the Government of Canada passed legislation on June 3 to establish September 30 a federal statutory holiday for federally regulated workers in the public and private sector.
As part of Call to Action number 80, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called on the federal government to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 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. On August 3, 2021, the Province of BC marked September 30 as a day of commemoration marking Truth and Reconciliation Day.
Following senior levels of government, City Council officially declared September 30, 2021 as a day of recognition and commemoration. The City will revisit in subsequent years how best to commemorate Truth and Reconciliation Day.
“Senior levels of government have indicated that September 30 will be observed as a day of recognition and commemoration,” stated Mayor Linda Buchanan. “How we honour the children who never came home, survivors and their families is an important part of healing. I will continue to call on the federal government to implement the calls to action outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report as those actions will move us all forward.”
September 30 marks an important step in the City’s reconciliation process and an opportunity to recognize and commemorate the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools, and to honour their survivors, their families, and communities. The City is encouraging everyone to use the day to recognize and learn about the intergenerational impacts of residential schools and colonization on local and urban Indigenous populations.
To commemorate the day, facilities operated by the City will be closed, including City Hall. Essential services will continue as they would on any statutory holiday.
“As more Indigenous children have been found buried across the country we have all grappled with sadness, anger, and pain,” stated Mayor Buchanan. “For too long the uncomfortable realities of Canada’s residential school system have been swept under the rug and the burden of truth telling has been carried by Indigenous peoples. The City is committed to deepening our relationship with First Nations people and governments as we walk the path of reconciliation.”
The City of North Vancouver remains committed to working with government, community partners and the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations to uphold the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. The City will also be providing education and training related to Truth and Reconciliation to City employees. As part of a larger Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, the City will be launching a significant body of work related to reconciliation in the coming weeks and months.
At the regularly scheduled September 27 Council meeting, City Council will proclaim September 30 as Truth and Reconciliation Day, and will mark the week of September 27 to October 1 as Truth and Reconciliation Week. City facilities will be lit up orange to acknowledge the legacy of residential schools, honour residential school survivors and affirm every child matters.
Through the month of September, the North Vancouver City Library is promoting books, online resources and learning related to truth and reconciliation and decolonization. Details are available at nvcl.ca. The Museum of North Vancouver also has educational resources available on their website at monova.ca.
The Indian Residential School Survivors Society Emergency Crisis Line is available 24/7 for anyone who may need counselling or support. Call 1-800-721-0066 or the 24-hr crisis line 1-866-925-4419.
For more information on resources and activities to support reconciliation and for civic services and holiday hours on September 30, visit cnv.org/reconciliation.