MEDIA RELEASE: Actions must speak louder than words on this first federal National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29 2021
Actions must speak louder than works on this first federal National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
OTTAWA – On September 30, the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC), along with Friendship Centres from coast to coast to coast, will commemorate the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. First and foremost, our thoughts are with the survivors and the families of those people who died as a result of residential and day schools.
On this day, we urge Canadians to learn about and reflect on the scale and impacts of residential schools and to commit to being active agents of reconciliation in their communities.
“This day is incredibly personal for me as the daughter, granddaughter and niece of residential school survivors and victims. As a leader of an Indigenous organization, I also feel an additional responsibility to ensure that this day is marked by action, and not just words.” said Jocelyn Formsma, Executive Director of the NAFC, “When we look to the past, we think maybe we could have done better if we were there. But we are in a moment today looking forward that compels us to ask ourselves ‘what are we willing to do today to ensure the future we envision for Indigenous children?’”
As part of the ongoing work to support survivors and their families, we have made a public list of mental health resources available to those who need them (https://nafc.ca/news-media/mental-health-supports-and-resource-list/?lang=en). Culturally-based and community-driven programs in prevention, mental health, crisis intervention, family development, violence prevention, legal aide, food security, and overall wellbeing are available at Friendship Centres and other Indigenous governments and organizations. We are proud partners with the Orange Shirt Society and commit to supporting their purposes.
We recommit ourselves to doing our part to advance the rights of Indigenous children, and we call on our partners and all governments to the following actions:
Read or re-read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and related reports
- Review the TRC Calls to Action and commit to their implementation
- Support Orange Shirt Day
- Commit to child welfare reform in ways that uphold the rights of Indigenous children, and
- Develop a national Indigenous child wellbeing framework that reflects the cultural and geographic diversity of Indigenous children in Canada.
“These actions are the bare minimum required to combat the ongoing and harmful legacies of residential and day schools” said NAFC President Christopher Sheppard, “but if we want to live in a fair, equal and progressive country, the bare minimum will not be enough. What we need is every person in Canada to be active in their communities until we see progress. We need every person to take this work to heart and into their hands to make real change.”
Today, and every day, Friendship Centres in over 100 communities across Canada honour and celebrate the lives of Indigenous children.
FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES:
Bridget Bowman Communications, Policy and Research Manager
The NAFC represents over 100 local Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations in every province and territory in Canada (except Prince Edward Island). Friendship Centres are urban Indigenous community hubs that provide a wide range of programs and services for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people living in urban, rural, and northern communities. Collectively, Friendship Centres are the largest and most comprehensive urban Indigenous service delivery network in Canada.