Premier’s statement on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation30 September 2021
FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was issued today by Premier Blaine Higgs to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Thursday, Sept. 30:
Like so many, we felt heartbreak over the discovery of the remains of 215 children at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia, in May. Sadly, that was only the beginning and since that time that number has continued to rise as more remains are discovered. We grieve with First Nations the tragic loss of these young lives.
The inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an opportunity for New Brunswickers to recognize First Nations survivors and their families and communities. We must acknowledge the history and legacy of the residential and day school systems, as it is a vital component of the reconciliation process.
As a visual reminder of that support, we urge all New Brunswickers to wear orange on Sept. 30 to honour the Indigenous children who were taken from their families and to acknowledge the strength and resilience of the survivors of the residential and day school systems.
No child should live in fear and no child should be subject to what these children experienced in the residential school system. Every child matters.
The impact of residential and day schools on Indigenous peoples are lasting, as they are passed down from one generation to the next.
If we truly want to move forward as a province, we must work with First Nations communities to investigate the circumstances surrounding the day school system in New Brunswick, and the attendance of First Nations children from New Brunswick at residential schools outside of the province.
We recognize that there is still much work to be done. We remain committed to continuing the work on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and bringing First Nations history into the school curriculum. It is imperative that future generations learn from the mistakes of the past if we are to grow as a province and a country.
In keeping with the Calls to Action, we also want to create a monument to mark this dark part of Canada’s history. We have reached out to First Nations communities in our province and asked them to work with us on this important and long-overdue initiative.
I recognize the crucial role that First Nations communities play in helping to build a strong and prosperous New Brunswick.
This is a time for us, as a government, to listen so that we might better understand and be able to take steps toward making meaningful and lasting changes.
I encourage all New Brunswickers to take a moment to consider what each of us can do to advance reconciliation and help to create a better, more inclusive province.
Thank you. Woliwon. Wela’lin.