This year marks the first time Canada will observe September 30th as a new statutory holiday, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day honours the thousands of lives taken and affected by the residential school system. The time for reconciliation is long overdue; we are reminded to never forget how children were forcibly separated from their families and culture, enduring abuse, and the resulting intergenerational trauma.
From 1831 to 1996, residential and federal day schools were mandatory for Indigenous youth. The schools were government sponsored and run by the church with the intention to assimilate students into Canadian Society. Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their homes and often experienced isolation and abuse. Children were separated from siblings, their hair was cut, speaking their language was discouraged and traditional clothing was removed. It is estimated that 6000 children died while in the care of the schools.
On September 30th we have chosen to close the gallery in support of our Indigenous friends who have been affected by the residential school system.
The reverberating effects of residential and federal day schools continue to affect many today. To learn more, there are various resources available and ways to donate:
- National Center for Truth and Reconciliation – https://nctr.ca
- The Canadian Encyclopedia – https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/residential-schools
- Legacy of Hope Foundation – https://legacyofhope.ca/wherearethechildren/stories/
- True North Aid – https://truenorthaid.ca/
- Inuit Art Foundation – https://www.inuitartfoundation.org
- Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami – https://www.itk.ca/
- Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction – https://www.torontoindigenoushr.com/