CRD Statement for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Sep 27, 2022
Victoria, BC — On September 30, known as Orange Shirt Day and now recognized as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Capital Regional District (CRD) remembers the thousands of Indigenous children who died at residential schools and acknowledges the intergenerational trauma that many survivors have experienced and still live with every day.
The CRD is flying the Xe Xe Smun’ Eem “Our Sacred Children” flag for truth and reconciliation, and in honour of all residential school survivors and those that did not make it back home, from September 26 to October 4. The flag has been loaned to the CRD by Eddy Charlie, a survivor of the Kuper Island Indian Industrial School, and his friend Kristin Spray. Eddy Charlie and Kristin Spray work together as Co-organizers of Victoria Orange Shirt Day and Xe Xe Smun’Eem. The design is by Tsawout artist Bear Horne, and features a bear to help us follow the right path, an eagle to help us have a vision of a bright future, a hummingbird to keep our mind, body and spirit healthy, and a flower to feed the connection of all these elements. This is the second year that the CRD has received permission to fly this flag.
“I am honoured for the permission to fly this flag and I hope that those who see it are inspired to reflect and learn more about the impact of residential schools,” said CRD Board Chair Colin Plant. “As we work to build respectful government-to-government relationships with First Nations in the region, we recognize the ongoing legacy of residential schools.”
Removing children from their families and forcing them to attend residential schools was Canadian government policy, in what has been recognized by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as attempted cultural genocide.
From the late 1800’s to 1996, more than 150,000 Indigenous children attended these schools. Many never returned home. Within the region, children were taken from their families and sent to residential schools. The abuse suffered at these schools continues to shake the region and haunt the survivors and their descendants today.
“To honour the meaning behind the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, Canada needs to recognize the importance of the impacts of the trauma experienced by children who were taken away from their homes and displaced in residential schools across Canada,” said Eddy Charlie. “The trauma was so severe that even decades after the last residential schools closed many survivors still do not have the courage to tell their own stories. The trauma is being passed down through generations, and is going to have an impact for many more generations before healing is possible. The best way to support healing is by sharing the stories from survivors and their children and grandchildren.”
CRD offices will be closed, and flags will fly at half-mast on September 30 to recognize this important day of reflection and remembrance. The CRD acknowledges the harm that was done to Indigenous peoples by Canada’s residential schools and the ongoing impacts and intergenerational trauma that are felt by Indigenous communities to this day.
The CRD is committed to listening, learning, and taking steps towards better relationships with the First Nations on whose traditional territories we do our work. Over the past year, hundreds of CRD staff have attended Indigenous-led training sessions to increase understanding of the ongoing impacts of residential schools.
Proud to be recognized as one of BC’s Top Employers and Canada’s Greenest Employers, the CRD delivers regional, sub-regional and local services to 13 municipalities and three electoral areas on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Governed by a 24-member Board of Directors, the CRD works collaboratively with First Nations and all levels of government to enable sustainable growth, foster community well-being, and develop cost-effective infrastructure while continuing to provide core services to residents throughout the region. Visit us online at www.crd.bc.ca.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Andy Orr, Senior Manager
CRD Corporate Communications
Tel: 250.360.3229 Cell: 250.216.5492