Federal bill would make Sept. 30 holiday for Indigenous reconciliation

Orange Shirt Day refers to piece of clothing taken from a child at residential school in 1973

Sept. 30 might become a new statutory holiday commemorating victims of residential schools.

The House of Commons heritage committee approved a measure Tuesday to make the last day of September a National Truth and Reconciliation Day. That date is already used as an informal occasion to commemorate the experiences of residential-school students, called Orange Shirt Day.

It’s called that in memory of a piece of a clothing then-six-year-old Phyllis Webstad had taken from her on her first day at a residential school in 1973.

“We picked Sept. 30 because September was the time when children were taken away from their homes,” she told the committee during a previous session, with the specific day chosen to give teachers time to tell modern children the history of the schools.

The heritage committee added the new federal holiday into NDP MP Georgina Jolibois’ Bill C-369, which creates a National Indigenous Peoples’ Day on June 21. It has been meeting for the past few months to discuss the bill, hearing testimony from survivors and Indigenous leaders.

Both the Native Women’s Association of Canada and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, representing 60,000 Inuit people across Canada, expressed support for two separate dates.

“Combining a day of celebration with a day of reconciliation, in our view, is inappropriate and disrespectful,” Virginia Lomax, a lawyer for NWAC, told the group on Jan. 29.

Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault said Tuesday the additions were in keeping with call to action No. 80 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which seeks a statutory holiday “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.”

The bill has yet to go to the Commons for a final vote.

Stephen Cook, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

WATCH: Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Prince Rupert’s students are baking it all the way to the bank

Charles Hays band students serve up goodies to fund summer trip

Two temporary voyages between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan added to AMHS schedule

October and November will see service to Alaska during the last week of each month

Police still looking for more info on missing mushroom picker in Nass Valley

65-year-old Greg Agnew was reported missing on Sept. 30

VIDEO: U.S. officials refute British couple’s ‘accidental’ border-crossing claim

Authorities say couple was arrested after illegal entry from B.C., with $16,000 and marijuana

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

Terrace artist turns historic downtown tree into work of art

Terrace artist carves a logger into wooden stump

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

ICBC willing to loosen grip on driver claim data, David Eby says

Private insurers say claims record monopoly keeps them out

Most Read