National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

By Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Executive Director, David Suzuki Foundation

Tomorrow marks the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

It’s a day for people in Canada to honour the children who never came home from residential schools, and the survivors.

It’s a day to acknowledge and lean into the long-hidden history of our country.

It’s a day for settlers and immigrants to learn, listen and share some of the heavy weight of loss that our Indigenous neighbours, friends and family carry.

Last year, when children’s unmarked graves were discovered at Kamloops Residential School, conversations opened up at kitchen tables and living rooms across Canada. In my family, as we watched the stories on the news, my father-in-law calmly remarked that when he was a student, he got paid “five bucks a grave” to dig graves at the Edmonton Residential School. “Where was the graveyard, Chinaay?” “Oh, across the road, past the field.

I wonder if that graveyard has been documented.

This is just one example of the difficult but important conversations happening about our shared, painful past. And this is why it’s so important for us to take meaningful action toward reconciliation.

This year, the David Suzuki Foundation partnered with the National Healing Forests Initiative to inspire people to create local healing forests to:

  • Honour residential school victims, survivors and their families; murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls and two-spirit people; and Indigenous children who have been removed from their families;
  • Be a place of learning and talking about this difficult shared history;
  • Help people connect with each other, while supported by being in nature.

It’s a project toward reconciliation, healing, shared understanding and respect.

The Healing Forests Initiative began in 10 communities. We’re partnering with them to support 16 new Healing Forest projects across Canada.

Learn more about the network of Healing Forests and how you can even start your own.

There are also many other things you can do tomorrow to learn, pay tribute and continue our shared journey toward truth and reconciliation, such as:

Thank you for honouring this important day with us.

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