#CanadaDay2021; #Demonstrations; #IndigenousPeople; #ResidentialSchools
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: During 2021 Canada Day demonstrators donned orange, took to streets, built memorials as part of a national reckoning with the horrific legacy of residential schools on Indigenous peoples.
Demonstrators on Canada Day 2021. Image credit: Screenshot
After the discovery of what appears to be human remains at residential school sites in British Columbia and Saskatchewan during the last two months, many of the special events normally associated with Canada Day were either cancelled or scaled back.
In his Canada Day message, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the horrific findings at the site of former residential schools have "rightfully pressed us to reflect on our country's historical failures" and injustices that still exist for many.
"While we can't change the past, we must be resolute in confronting these truths in order to chart a new and better path forward. Together, we have a long way to go to make things right with Indigenous Peoples," said Trudeau, who spent his day with his family.
The flag atop the Peace Tower was at half-mast to honor the Indigenous children who died in residential schools.
While marchers in Montreal held banners that read "bring our children home," those in Edmonton and elsewhere had shirts that read "Every Child Matters," and a group of 15 in downtown Halifax, read from the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission about the history and legacy of residential schools, and actions that could move reconciliation forward.
In his Canada Day message, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde called for transformational change in the lives of Indigenous Peoples, justice for residential school survivors, clean drinking water and healthy homes for Indigenous communities.
"There is an opportunity for all levels of government to act on First Nations' priorities," Bellegarde said in a video message. "There is a strong foundation for continued progress, but there remains much more work ahead of all of us. We cannot lose the momentum."