September 30, 2022

On National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the National Family and Survivors Circle (NFSC) takes time to pause and reflect on the lasting effects of the Indian residential school system, while honouring survivors and remembering the children who did not return home.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls were two monumental truth-telling events, where survivors powerfully voiced the truths of the cultural genocide inflicted upon them by the Indian residential school system. The legacy of this violence by the church and the Canadian state remains prevalent in Indigenous communities through the impacts of intergenerational trauma and grief for the children who never came home. It is one of the root causes of the ongoing genocide against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.

The 80 Calls to Action that came out of the TRC and the National Inquiry’s 231 Calls for Justice are based on truths provided as evidence of this genocide. What is made clear through these Calls is that reconciliation cannot happen through inaction. All governments, institutions, organizations, industries, and all Canadians, are responsible for ensuring that the Calls for Action and Calls for Justice are implemented. So far, the lack of action in ensuring these Calls are made a reality is both disappointing and dangerous — every day, more Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people go missing, and Indigenous communities lack the supports and resources needed to overcome systemic barriers.

Transformative change will only become a reality through political and societal will, legislation, investments, and accountability mechanisms, for the full implementation for the TRC’s Calls for Action and the National Inquiry’s 231 Calls for Justice.

Our hope is that this National Day of Truth and Reconciliation will be a day for reflection for the children buried in school yards and honouring of the survivors recovering from colonial violence perpetrated and condoned by the state — and a day that spurs action.

As the Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair has said, “Reconciliation is not a spectator sport.” Today is a day for commitment to action as a champion of change to end the ongoing genocide.

We understand that this subject matter is difficult for many people in our community. If you require immediate support, please contact the national, independent toll free 24/7 support line at 1-844-413-6649 to speak to a counsellor. The service is available in English, French, Cree, Anishnaabemowin (Ojibway), and Inuktitut.

About the National Family and Survivors Circle (NFSC)

The NFSC comprises First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women from diverse backgrounds who use their lived expertise to advocate for centering the voices of families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, survivors of gender-based violence, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, and made significant contributions to the 2021 National Action Plan.

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Click here to download this statement as a PDF.