In honour of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, the City of Wetaskiwin will be closing its facilities, excluding the Manluk Centre, on Thursday.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was created in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC’s) Call to Action #80. This call to action recommended 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 city says that as part of its ongoing commitment to Truth and Reconciliation that city employees have been encouraged to spend September 30 educating themselves and reflecting on the lasting impacts of the residential school system.
City manager Sue Howard has also tasked each division within the city to select one of the action items listed within AUMA’s Municipal Guide to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action and begin working toward achieving that action.
“Administration recognized the importance of building meaningful relationships with our Indigenous neighbours, and we meet regularly with the administrators of the four Cree Nations,” said Howard.
“While these meetings are in line with the Truth and Reconciliation’s Call to Action number 45(iii), we are most excited about new friendships and learning about the Cree culture. We are so grateful for the opportunity to grow these relationships and begin to earn the trust of our Indigenous neighbours.”
September 30 is also Orange Shirt Day which began in 2013 in Williams Lake, B.C., to commemorated the residential school experience, to witness and honour the healing journey of the survivors and their families, and to commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation.
“We should never forget our history as a nation and will continue to honour the memories of those who never returned from residential schools, those who survived, and remember that Every Child Matters,” stated Bill Elliot, Chair of Wetaskiwin’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
“We must realize that Reconciliation is far from over and we must work together in peace and cooperation.”
The city says they are continuing to pursue Truth and Reconciliation by building relationships with each Cree Nation of Maskwacis, hosting traditional Cree ceremonies and feasts, and taking a stand against racism and discrimination in the community.