Federal bill would make Sept. 30 holiday for Indigenous reconciliation

Orange Shirt Day refers to piece of clothing taken from a child at residential school in 1973

Sept. 30 might become a new statutory holiday commemorating victims of residential schools.

The House of Commons heritage committee approved a measure Tuesday to make the last day of September a National Truth and Reconciliation Day. That date is already used as an informal occasion to commemorate the experiences of residential-school students, called Orange Shirt Day.

It’s called that in memory of a piece of a clothing then-six-year-old Phyllis Webstad had taken from her on her first day at a residential school in 1973.

“We picked Sept. 30 because September was the time when children were taken away from their homes,” she told the committee during a previous session, with the specific day chosen to give teachers time to tell modern children the history of the schools.

The heritage committee added the new federal holiday into NDP MP Georgina Jolibois’ Bill C-369, which creates a National Indigenous Peoples’ Day on June 21. It has been meeting for the past few months to discuss the bill, hearing testimony from survivors and Indigenous leaders.

Both the Native Women’s Association of Canada and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, representing 60,000 Inuit people across Canada, expressed support for two separate dates.

“Combining a day of celebration with a day of reconciliation, in our view, is inappropriate and disrespectful,” Virginia Lomax, a lawyer for NWAC, told the group on Jan. 29.

Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault said Tuesday the additions were in keeping with call to action No. 80 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which seeks a statutory holiday “to honour survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”

The bill has yet to go to the Commons for a final vote.

Stephen Cook, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

Bungy jump naked in support of mental health programs

Registration open for annual fundraiser for BC Schizophrenia Society

Four weather extremes in just six months a cause for concern

Global warming contributing to the full gamut of conditions

Column: Snow reveals the character of a community

For every internet complainer there were two more willing to help a neighbour

Car fire destroys vehicle in Chemainus

Traffic rerouted for a short time at the Henry Road roundabout

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Fraser Health closes all pools at Harrison Hot Springs

Public pool available after all five mineral pools closed until Monday

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

Most Read