September 30th is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. I am proud to say that the City of Oshawa, which is located on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, covered under the Williams Treaties, has also proclaimed September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Oshawa.
We recognize that Oshawa is the present day home of thousands of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples, and the largest number in Durham Region.
The establishment of a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was in response to the 80th call to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a day to recognize, commemorate and honour the thousands of Indigenous children who attended residential schools, as well as their families and communities.
September 30 is a day for all of us here in Oshawa to learn about and remember both the tragic history of the residential school system, and also acknowledge the painful legacy that continues to affect Indigenous peoples in Canada today.
Truth must come before reconciliation. As leaders and as a community, we must take the initiative to seek out our own learning of the past and present day relationships between Canadians and Indigenous peoples. Take time to learn about how the legacy of the residential school system continues to negatively affect generations of Indigenous families.
As September 30 is Orange Shirt Day, I encourage all community members to wear your orange shirt in reflection. Visit one of the five locations in Oshawa – City Hall, Civic Recreation Complex, Columbus Community Centre, Delpark Homes Centre and Lakeview Park — and bring and tie an orange ribbon in honour of the children who endured residential schools.
Finally, I encourage all Oshawa residents to use this National Day to learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, and commit to reconciliation not just on September 30 but every day. Let’s ensure that the legacy of this proclaimed day is meaningful and impactful as we build a better future together.