HBHL Statement: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Dear Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives community,
Only 23 years ago, Canada closed Kivalliq Hall in Rankin Inlet. It was the last of 140 federally-run Indian Residential Schools created to deliberately and systematically destroy the languages, cultures and sovereignty of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.
Over the course of 167 years, Canadian residential schools caused more than 150,000 Indigenous children to be removed from their families, deprived of their language and culture and subjected to physical and sexual abuse at the hands of those entrusted with their care. Many died in these schools and the true scale of these atrocities, long known by Survivors and Indigenous communities, is finally being acknowledged as school grounds are investigated to locate an increasing number of unmarked gravesites.
Survivors and the families of those who were lost in this genocidal system have long demanded accountability and reparations. Today, September 30, marks Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This is an important acknowledgement of the lasting legacy of harm done to Indigenous peoples and communities across Canada, and represents an important step in the reconciliation process.
While establishing a federal statutory day of commemoration fulfils one of the 94 Calls to Actions identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, it is only the beginning of the reconciliation process.
HBHL recognizes that Canadian educational institutions have a particular responsibility to rebuild trust, and we are taking steps to increase Indigenous access and incorporate Indigenous knowledge in our funding programs. If you have comments or suggestions for actions HBHL should consider implementing, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at hbhl [at] mcgill.ca.
Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives