Today on the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, Knox Waterloo acknowledges the role of The Presbyterian Church in the Residential School System in Canada. We will continue to work, learn, and implement the Calls to Action found in the Truth & Reconciliation Commission Report & the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls Final Report.
The Presbyterian Church in Canada operated Residential Schools in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario beginning in the 1880s and running through 1969. It is important to acknowledge the church’s involvement in this legacy as we work to dismantle the systemic anti-Indigenous racism that continues with deadly consequences today.
An orange shirt – originally ripped from 6 year old Phyllis Webstad on her first day of school at St. Joseph Mission Residential School in BC in 1973 – has become symbolic of all that was taken from the children: their language, culture, family and community relationships, safety, security and identity, sometimes even their lives.
Governor General of Canada, Mary May Simon, shares these wise words on the occasion of the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: “Reconciliation is a way of life, continuous, with no end date. It is learning from our lived experiences and understanding one another. It is creating the necessary space for us to heal. It is planting seeds of hope and respect so that our garden blooms for our children.”