Memo to members: MNL and PMA recognize September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Since 2013, Indigenous communities throughout Canada have marked September 30 as Orange Shirt Day. A time to reflect on Canada’s ongoing legacy of colonialism, Orange Shirt Day is meant to honour the survivors of Canada’s residential school system and to remember those who never returned home.
Earlier this year, in a move to fulfill Call to Action 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the Government of Canada passed legislation recognizing September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and designated it a federal government statutory holiday. Soon after, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced that it, too, will be observing September 30, 2021, as an official provincial holiday.
As we continue to build partnerships with Indigenous Peoples and organizations across the province, MNL and PMA encourage municipal leaders and staff to mark September 30 this year by reflecting on the ways in which you can advance truth and reconciliation in your own community. Wear orange. Educate yourself, your family, and your friends. Talk with your neighbours and colleagues. And reach out to Indigenous organizations in your region to learn how you can better support them in their work.
While MNL and PMA welcome all these efforts, we also recognize that there is much more work to be done. All levels of government – federal, provincial, and municipal – have roles to play in advancing truth and reconciliation. When it released its final report in 2015, the TRC specifically called on municipal governments to take the following actions:
- Adopt and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Call to Action 43);
- Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius and reform all laws that rely on such concepts (Call to Action 47); and
- Educate all public servants on the histories and cultures of Indigenous Peoples (Call to Action 57).