City of Sault Ste. Marie commemorates National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

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September 30 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to commemorate the history and legacy of Residential Schools in Canada. The day is an opportunity to learn and reflect on the country’s history and honour the survivors, their families and the communities as called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Indigenous leaders.

“I think it is important for our community to reflect on the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in the spirit of reconciliation and with a commitment to move forward collaboratively,” said Mayor Christian Provenzano.

“Sault Ste. Marie was home to residential schools, and the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre is a tremendous example of what is possible when reconciliation and collaboration informs our actions. Through the efforts of staff, the Centre acknowledges the truth of the Residential School system, supports the healing process and preserves the stories of survivors for future generations. With the recent discoveries of remains and unmarked graves across Canada, all levels of government have a role to play in reconciliation. In this challenging period, I encourage people to seek out and support ways for our community to better understand the difficult truths of our past in an effort to help us build a better future together.”

September 30 marks National Orange Shirt Day. People across Canada wear orange to raise awareness about the history and legacies of the residential school system in Canada. Orange Shirt Day originates from the story of Phyllis Webstad. In 1973, on her first day at St. Joseph’s Residential School in Williams Lake, BC, Phyllis’s new orange shirt was stripped from her, never to be seen again.

“On this day, the City of Sault Ste. Marie recognizes the ongoing trauma caused by residential schools and commits to continuing to provide learning to our staff throughout the year. Education is foundational to understanding our role as Canadians, our role as a municipal government, and our role in reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples,” said Malcolm White, CAO.

On September 30 at 12:30 p.m., the City is hosting a flag raising ceremony outside the Civic Centre. The public is welcome to attend and reflect on how we can all work towards reconciliation. Please follow COVID guidelines and public health measures including masking and physical distancing.

For more information, visit www.saultstemarie.ca or follow the City’s Facebook page.