Canada has a brand new holiday—the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Here’s all about the new holiday as Canada marks a new first.
What is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation?
Canadians marked the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Thursday. The new Canadian holiday is honoring the lost children and the survivors of the indigenous residential school and their communities. The holiday aims to create awareness and educate the people on the history and lives of the children. The holiday pays homage to the suffering and death of the children. Canadians observed it by illuminating buildings in Orange from evening to the sunrise of the next morning. Additionally, Federal buildings also lit up in orange.
Candian citizens wore orange-colored clothes. The holiday is popularly called the ‘orange shirt day’.
Why? Orange highlights the children from indigenous communities and how they were robbed of their freedom and culture. Additionally, Phyllis Webstad wore orange clothes on the first day of school. Phyllis Webstad is a First Nations residential school survivor. However, Webstad had to get rid of her clothing. Her hair — chopped off and her culture—stripped from her.
Here’s how the new holiday came to be
Hundreds of unmarked burial sites belonging to indigenous children were discovered this year on the grounds of Kamloops Indian Residential school. The site of the graves caused nationwide outrage. After research, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) said that these schools were “a systematic, government-sponsored attempt to destroy Aboriginal cultures and languages and to assimilate Aboriginal peoples so that they no longer existed as distinct peoples.”
After all, the schools were a site of cultural genocide, and to honor the lost lives, the Canadian Parliament approved this new holiday on June 2, 2021. Additionally, the establishment of the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation and the TRC are byproducts of the recognition and accountability demanded.
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