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Statement by the Prime Minister on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

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The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:

“Today, as we mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day, we confront the lasting impacts of the residential school system for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis in Canada. We come together to remember the children who were stolen from their communities, and those whose lives were stolen from them at these so-called schools. We honour the Survivors, many of whom suffered physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. We listen to their truths, and we reiterate our commitment to building a better future for Indigenous Peoples and for everyone in Canada.

“Between 1867 and 1998, over 150,000 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children were taken from their families and communities and forced to attend residential schools, where they were banned from speaking their languages and practising their cultures and traditions. As communities continue searching for the children who never came home, the Government of Canada will be there every step of the way to provide them with the resources they need to fully uncover the truth of what happened at residential schools, honour the children who did not return, and support communities as they continue on their healing journeys.

“We must never forget the past and the injustices committed against Indigenous Peoples at residential schools, as well as the intergenerational trauma that remains today. Right now, with denialism sadly on the rise, uncovering the whole truth is more important than ever. That is why we appointed the Independent Special Interlocutor for Missing Children and Unmarked Graves and Burial Sites associated with Indian Residential Schools, Kimberly Murray, to help facilitate a search process with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis that will respect their needs and concerns as we work together to uncover and uphold the truth of what happened at residential schools.

“Today, I encourage everyone to wear orange in recognition that every child matters and to participate in Indigenous-led events to recognize and reflect on the ongoing legacy of the residential school system. Reconciliation is not the responsibility of Indigenous Peoples – it is the responsibility of all of us. It’s our responsibility to listen to, learn from, and give space to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis voices and stories, and face the truth of our past to build a fairer, more equitable, and more inclusive Canada for the generations to come.”

This statement is also available in the following languages: