Message from President Russell: Canada Day time for reflection and learning
This Canada Day is a somber one. The recent and very tragic news about the remains of hundreds of children found buried on the grounds of former residential schools has shaken Canada to its core. And sadly, this is only the beginning. While these truths have been carried for years by those who have been directly impacted by residential schools, these discoveries have more broadly brought to light the horrific realities of residential school system in Canada. And it has spurred open and honest discussions about the systemic wrongs and deep hurts that have been experienced by generations of Indigenous peoples across this country.
This hits close to home for many NunatuKavut Inuit, whose lives and families have been affected by residential schools here in Labrador. Our people also continue to endure the lasting influences of colonization on our homelands, which has impacted our lifeways, education and language. These truths are part of who we are and how we will live into the future. Through it all, however, we celebrate our place and remain deeply connected to our territory and the land, sea and ice. We proudly fish from our waters and harvest on our lands. We are part of a great and lasting heritage with an unbroken relationship to our ancestors and all those who have been here before us. We celebrate our story of resiliency, determination and belonging.
On this Canada Day, I encourage all to learn more about the stories of Indigenous peoples in this country and what reconciliation genuinely means. Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s calls to action. Go through the Calls for Justice in the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. And continue to have meaningful conversations about these important issues with those around you, especially with our children and youth. We again challenge Canada and all levels of government to put reconciliation into action. The time is now. Positive change can only take place when concerted efforts are made to acknowledge and learn from past wrongs and to strive to do better. However you choose to commemorate this day, I encourage you to take some time to pause and reflect on all of these things.
And so, today, I will be joining others in wearing something orange to honour former residential school students and I urge you to do the same. In doing so, we remember those who have passed on, carrying their stories to the very end. And we show support to those still with us and do what we can to walk with them on their journey of healing.