Sept. 30 — this Thursday — is set to be the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada.
The federal statutory holiday was approved this past summer and is supposed to be a day to acknowledge Indigenous peoples and reflect on ways society can work towards reconciliation.
The day was recommended by the 2015 report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a way to commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools.
Most Tri-City civic centres are closing or reducing their hours, students will be taking the day off from school and some events are scheduled to take place to educate the community.
But, individually, how can someone effectively participate in the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation?
Here's one solution this reporter believes is creative, personal and heartwarming.
This past summer, Tasha Faye Evans and Calder Cheverie created a film to commemorate National Indigenous People's Day, which is recognized in Canada each year on June 21.
Together with residents and businesses within Port Moody, the two asked others what living, working and playing on the unceded, traditional and ancestral territories of the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem); səl̓ilwətaɁɬ təməxʷ (Tsleil-Waututh); S’ólh Téméxw (Stó:lō); xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam); and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) means to them.
Those who participated in the video, including children, offered their thanks and prayers to the original caretakers of the Coast Salish lands and waters.
"It is dedicated to the artists and Knowledge Keepers who have been working with this community over these past few years," reads Evans' video description. She's a member of the Port Moody Ecological Society.
"May you know that the teachings you share, the truths that are told, the love that you have for this land and these waters and for all of our relations continues to impact who we are as a community."
Evans adds while society can't undo the struggles, trials and tribulations of the past, it's the responsibility of the community "to create a better future."
The Port Moody Ecological Society, which also includes Noons Creek Hatchery, is set to host a singing session of the Tk'emlups te Secwépemc Honour Song at 2:15 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 20, in honour of the 215 unmarked graves found at the former Kamloops residential school.
While saying "sorry" may not be enough, Tri-City residents can express themselves on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by making a commitment, like statements in the video below, that moves towards a future based on teamwork and cooperation.
Statements can be publicly declared, shared on social media for example, or in private so long as they are honest and meaningful.
How are you planning to acknowledge or reflect on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation? If you feel led to, share with us your commitment, pledge, declaration or promise in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.