Statement from the Mayor – September 1, 2021
Every Child Matters Flag Raising
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Over the last number of months, we have experienced heartbreaking and sobering events as we have learned in undeniable terms the true legacy of the Residential Schools. An uncomfortable truth is that these Residential Schools are not part of our distant past. The last Residential School in Canada closed in 1996. I graduated from High School in 1997.
The Government of Canada recently passed legislation declaring September 30th a federal statutory holiday called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day provides an opportunity for us all to recognize and commemorate the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools. It is also a day to honour and remember the survivors, their families, and communities who continue to bear witness to these tragedies.
At our last meeting, Mississippi Mills Council unanimously supported flying the Every Child Matters Flag at municipal facilities for the month of September to recognize National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Flags at all municipal facilities have been lowered since May 31, 2021 to honour the children found in mass graves across Canada and will remain lowered until further notice.
Last week, the Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) provided a draft resolution and resources for municipalities for the Nation Day for Truth and Reconciliation. These materials were a result of AMO’s Indigenous Relations Working Group. As a director for AMO, I can say that the discussion around the table when these resources were tabled was thoughtful and emotional.
Mississippi Mills Council will be considering these resources and the next steps we can take as a municipality. At our next meeting we will discuss:
- An overview of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC’s) Calls to Actionthat we as municipal governments can address.
- Ideas and options that we as municipal leaders can take to better support and engage with Indigenous residents and neighbours
- A draft resolution in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Additionally, the Municipality of Mississippi Mills is working with community partners to plan an appropriate tribute for September 30, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. We are also planning educational opportunities for Council, staff, and the public. We will share details as they become available.
We can all take steps to raise understanding about residential schools and their ongoing effect on Indigenous Peoples. Part of making change is committing to being uncomfortable, to learning and challenging what we think we know. We can all do something. Here are some ideas:
- Join our local Truth and Reconciliation Groups or attend their events: Mississippi Mills All My Relations
- Check out Book Lists for children, junior, teens and adults written by or featuring Indigenous People or Indigenous History. Thanks to the library staff for these lists: Books Promoting Diversity and Inclusion
- Learn about the work of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action
In closing, I’d like to encourage residents to read materials rovided to us by Mississippi Mills All My Relations about Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. All My Relations is a group of community members whose mission is to respond to the calls to action outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in a respectful, concrete and doable way. Thank you to Mississippi Mills All My Relations for your leadership in this important and sensitive work.
Remember, there is a National Crisis Line is available to provide support to former residential school students and those affected. Emotional and crisis referral services are available by calling 1-866-925-4419.
Mayor Christa Lowry