Stacy(Sunyoung)Park/Staff reporter

On September 30, 2021, Canada had its first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and people interviewed said residents must remember and learn from their mistakes and give thanks to Indigenous people.

The Day of Truth and Reconciliation is establishing a statutory holiday on September 30 every year to commemorate the grim past, such as when the remains of children were discovered at the site of a residential school in inland B.C. in May. Officially operated from the 1880s until the end of the 20th century, residential schools were established by the Canadian government and are a school system that indoctrinates Canadian and Christian lifestyles in the name of educating children.

These institutions have forcibly separated children from their families and do not recognize indigenous cultures. There have been harsh punishments for Aboriginal children who do not follow strict rules, and there has been physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse. As a result, the church and Canadian government abused many children, and many died.

2021 is the first year they instituted the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. People are looking positively at the Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

The history of Truth and Reconciliation Day was that the Canadian government sent many children from Indigenous families to residential schools. This year, the remains of indigenous children were found in a closed residential school. The Government of Canada has recognized this and has designated it a new public holiday, allowing us to reflect on our past and learn about our Aboriginal people. Indigenous peoples were controlled and managed by the government in many ways, including food, language, and separated families, and this is our sad history. Regarding the history hidden in the Day of Truth and Reconciliation, Angela Jeong, a Youth worker, said, “You cannot change history, but we can make a better country if we work together.”

Gleneagle’s students, teachers, and staff believe that setting aside national holidays for truth and reconciliation is an essential first step in addressing the historical injustice suffered by indigenous peoples. Days off work and school are growing in importance, and people can use them to recognize and remember atrocities against indigenous peoples. We also offer time to attend events where you can learn about Aboriginal people. Students and teachers should not think of it as a holiday but rather take a day off to express their gratitude to those who came first as citizens and citizens of this land. Whether we are Canadians or not, as people here, we should be grateful to the Indigenous peoples of Canada.

Some commented that the Day of Reconciliation aims to remember Aboriginal people abused in boarding schools for over 100 years. Gleneagle student Renee Kim said it was a day to unravel Canada’s horrific past while correcting our mistakes and learning a lesson. As a nation, we must accept the past and move forward step by step toward reconciliation. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of what the Indigenous peoples have been through, but whether they are separated from the past or not, we must make things right.

Gleneagle’s ELL teacher, Brian Hunter explains why we should remember and learn: “We need to remember the children lost in boarding schools and the poor treatment of Aboriginal people. Because it’s the history of Canadian soil, we need to learn about Aboriginal culture and traditional ways of life.” He explained.

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