September 30, 2021 (OTTAWA)—The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) is today commemorating Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, with 2021 marking the first year of this day as a federal statutory holiday. CAP is calling on the recently re-elected Liberal government and all other parties to commit to advancing reconciliation with all Indigenous Peoples.
“For too long, Canada’s Indigenous Peoples have faced injustices, been discriminated against, and suffered at the hands of the government. While a national holiday does not right the historic wrongs our people have faced for centuries, it is still an important time to focus on educating all Canadians on the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and advancing reconciliation,” said CAP National Chief Elmer St. Pierre.
“Reconciliation comes when the government commits to working with ALL Indigenous Peoples in Canada to reform a historically racist justice system, to enhance and improve access to health care, and to work in partnership with Indigenous leaders to advance the interests of our people”.
CAP remains hopeful that this re-elected Liberal government will collaborate with CAP, the only organization that represents off-reserve Status and non-Status Indians, Métis, and Southern Inuit Indigenous peoples, a segment of the Indigenous population that is the most marginalized.
This past year and the discovery of multiple unmarked mass graves at former residential school locations have only further highlighted the need for reconciliation and the work that needs to be done to achieve this goal. The dark legacy of residential schools continues to be felt throughout Indigenous communities, and while a national holiday does not solve the problem, it is an opportunity for education to shed light on the realities of our communities. CAP encourages all Canadians to learn more. Some resources include:
Legacy of Hope Foundation
National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation
CAP Reconciliation Toolkit
CAP Historical Timeline