A new holiday

The Leaf and surrounding gardens at Assiniboine Park.

It’s Friday. Friday! Friday?

Yes, The Uniter is publishing a day later than usual this week. No, you don’t need to reset your watch. Do people still wear watches?

No, we’ve delayed publication of this issue by a day to respect and observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This new statutory holiday, also known as Orange Shirt Day, is an important opportunity for all people living in what is now called Canada to reflect on colonial crimes of the past and present while working toward a future of reconciliation.

It’s especially important this year, when searches on the grounds of former residential schools have led to the discoveries of many thousands of unmarked graves. We are also still weathering the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted Indigenous peoples in Canada.

These events may be sobering reminders for settlers, but for Indigenous people living with the daily realities of colonialism and white supremacy in Canada, there’s no “reminding.” It is the troubling, tragic reality that exists in Canada. That needs to change.

Will a new holiday fix these problems? No. But it is important that we take time to consciously mourn, reflect and begin to initiate actual, concrete change.

Published in Volume 76, Number 4 of The Uniter (October 1, 2021)

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