Chiefs encourage Islanders to have a different kind of Canada Day this year

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M’Chigeeng, ON – The discovery of the lost children in Kamloops and at other former residential schools is shocking. At the same time, it is not surprising for Indigenous peoples, including the Anishinaabe of Mnidoo Mnising. It is just one of the many horrors brought on by Canada’s colonialist policies.

Canada Day cannot be a day of celebration for us. It is instead a day of profound sadness for us. We are in mourning for the Indigenous children killed by Canada’s system.

Canada Day is a painful reminder of the harm Canada has done and continues to do to Indigenous peoples and Indigenous children. Even today Canada continues its colonialist policies – including by fighting against the fair and equitable treatment of Indigenous children and by failing to provide Indigenous communities access to safe drinking water.

Despite the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which investigated the residential school system and its impacts, a large majority of Canadians say they were mostly unaware of the harm caused by Canada’s residential schools until the discovery in Kamloops.

This must change.

We, the Anishinaabe of Mnidoo Mnising, ask that Canadians to use Canada Day to educate themselves about the residential school system and its impacts. We encourage them to start by reading the Report of Truth and Reconciliation Commission and thinking about how they can work to implement the Commission’s Calls to Action.

We ask our neighbours not to celebrate Canada Day. Instead we ask them to educate themselves on the true history of Canada and to support us in our mourning by wearing an orange shirt to commemorate the lives of all our children. We also encourage you all to stand together with us in holding the Government responsible and addressing the historical injustice.